Jeffrey Epstein’s passing on Saturday finished the high-profile criminal prosecution of himbut it’s likely to accelerate the complicated battle over his countless, as victims who may no longer view their day in court seek compensation for alleged misuse.
There are still many unknowns about Epstein’s wealth and how he made his money. In his request to be released on bond last month, he promised to possess a net value of $559 million, with $57 million in cash and many homes, such as a private island and a $56 million mansion in New York City. In courtroom, Federal District Judge Richard M. Berman cautioned that those disclosures were unverified and unaudited.
It’s ’s not clear whether Epstein needed a will or that his next of kin are. He wasn’t wed, and he was not known to possess any children. His brother Mark Epstein, together with whom he had been connected through real estate, has sought to distance himself. “Other than the obvious relationship of being brothers, the only other connection between Jeffrey and I is as landlord/tenant,” Mark Epstein advised the Wall Street Journal.
Following Jeffrey Epstein’so departure, attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing a number of the alleged victims, called about the supervisor of Epstein’property to “freeze his assets and maintain them because of his victims that are filing civil cases. ”
“Give his whole estate to his own victims,” that she tweeted Sunday. “It is. And they deserve it. And on behalf of those Epstein victims I signify, I intend to fight for this. ”
Give his estate. It is. And they deserve it. And on behalf of those Epstein victims I signify, I intend to fight for this. https://t.co/gB5ejtk7VN
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) August 11, 2019
But that legal struggle is likely to be difficult and lengthy.
“Epstein’s not going to defend himselfbut the lawyers for the estate certainly will,” says David Ring, an attorney in California who represents victims of sexual abuse. He is not engaged in any case related to Epstein. “I don’t even think theyrsquo;re going to only part with his estate and say‘Well, here you go, it’s yours. ’ Theyrsquo;will set up a struggle, together with his heirs and whomever was in his or her will. ”
And any pursuit of resources can also be complicated by the reality that Epstein had significant assets in many states across different jurisdictions, and there might not be a complete listing of all of his holdings.
“That makes complicated,” Ring says. “It doesn’t mean that they ’re not going to regain the money, it’s only going to take a little while. And it’therefore definitely going to have a great deal of maneuvering. ”
Epstein, 66, died by obvious suicide when awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracytheories In a statement following his death, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said “our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment–which comprised a conspiracy count–remains continuing. ”
Epstein’s lawyers had argued that last month’s indictment has been an unnecessary “do-over” of a 2007 plea agreement. They didn’t immediately respond to your request for comment Monday regarding the projected civil suits against Epstein’property.
Last week, Leslie Wexner, the billionaire behind Victoria’s Secret, accused Epstein of having “misappropriated vast amounts of money out of me and my loved ones ” when he had been responsible for handling their own finances. The accusation raised additional questions about Epstein’s fiscal transactions.
Civil suits over alleged misuse had settled. But more are anticipated. As girls who say they were abused by Epstein continue to find justice after his departure, some are intending to file civil suits against his estate.
Attorney Stan Pottinger claims he’s planning to file civil suits against Epstein’property on behalf of “several” victims who say they were abused by Epstein in New York. Pottinger said he’d planned to submit those suits before Epstein’s death, because of some New York state law that may take effect Wednesday, allowing victims of child sexual abuse to sue an aide no matter when the abuse took place.
But such lawsuits have taken on a fresh sense of urgency, now that the criminal case from Epstein has ended.
“We’re representing the interests of victims that were abused at a level, and feel like there’s a second amount of mistreatment from the unfair death of the individual who had initially abused them,” Pottinger informs TIME. “None of our clients are happy to see Epstein’so death, least of all the way it happened. ”
Attorney Roberta Kaplan informed Reuters she is filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of a woman who said she had been recruited to take part in sexual acts with Epstein around 2002, when she was 14.
It ’s potential national prosecutors can go following Epstein’s resources, also.
Sharon Cohen Levin, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York who specialized in asset forfeiture, says prosecutors could decide to bring charges against other people related this case. However they might also opt to pursue civil forfeiture action against a number of Epstein’s resources — like his New York mansion or private island — if there’s evidence they had been used to facilitate a crime or if they were profits of a crime.
If prosecutors pursue civil forfeiture of Epstein’so resources, victims could then request the Department of Justice to get a share of their value.
“I think [prosecutors] will likely be moving as quickly as they possibly could,” Levin says.
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