Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse, which could be confiscated to help pay damages to alleged victims.
In death, as in life, Jeffrey Epstein remains surrounded in lawsuits, as prosecutors determine how to pursue possible criminal charges against his co-conspirators and lawyers representing his alleged victims file civil suits against his estate. “Victims deserve justice and will get it,” Attorney General William Barr said on Monday, following up on a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York saying the investigation into the sex-trafficking-conspiracy charge will continue. Meanwhile, celebrity lawyers like David Boies, Lisa Bloom, and Gloria Allred are representing multiple accusers suing “to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused,” as Bloom put it on Saturday.
Many questions remain. What about a will? Will Epstein’s assets be frozen? How might victims gain restitution after his death? Below is everything we know about the remaining legal issues surrounding the Epstein estate.
Though Epstein was not married and did not have any known children, he is survived by his younger brother, Mark, who is reportedly around 64 years old, and a niece and nephew, who live in New York. Along with a friend, Mark Epstein, a former chairman of the board at Cooper Union, offered to guarantee a bond to ensure his brother’s bail request, though it was denied.
Although no details have emerged regarding Epstein’s will, if one does emerge, it may not be a traditional document, considering Epstein’s reported conversations involving his body after death. In July, the New York Times described an interaction in which Epstein expressed interest in cryonics and that he wanted to freeze his head and penis.
In further unorthodox, postmortem news, a Florida-based firm called Morse Genealogical Services put up the site epsteinheirs.com, looking for “unknown children of the late Jeffrey Epstein” who could file a claim against his estate. The website reads: “If you believe you may have given birth to a child fathered by the late JEFFERY EPSTEIN who recently committed suicide, or that he may have been your biological father, please contact us immediately, without delay!!”
Epstein frequently made his employees and contractors — from the construction workers who built his island mansion to his caretaker in Palm Beach — sign nondisclosure agreements forbidding them to discuss any activity they saw on his property. But in an interview, Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown stated that these employees are no longer held to secrecy upon his death. In June, she also noted that NDAs signed by victims who had previously settled with Epstein prohibited them from discussing the financial details of their award, not the details of the alleged abuse. Attorney David Boies told the Washington Post in June that he was representing two alleged victims who had signed NDAs.
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that alleged co-conspirators involved with the financier “should not rest easy” following his death. “Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” he told a law-enforcement group in New Orleans.
On Monday morning, FBI and Customs and Border Protection agents docked at Epstein’s Little St. James island, reportedly looking for evidence left by Epstein’s inner circle on the private island. According to the Miami Herald, the co-conspirators that the Southern District of New York will most likely focus on are “[Ghislaine] Maxwell, Sarah Kellen Vickers, Adriana Ross and Lesley Groff — all of whom allegedly helped run Epstein’s operation in the mid- to late-2000s.” The sex-trafficking-conspiracy charge leveled against Epstein is most likely the one that will be used to pursue his co-conspirators, according to a statement released by the SDNY the day of Epstein’s suicide.
In Florida, where Epstein signed a wrist-slap plea deal in 2007, there may soon be an avenue for accusers to go after his enablers: In February, a judge ruled that the plea agreement had violated victims’ rights. If the judge determines that it must be tossed out, it could allow victims to pursue action against Epstein’s associates in Palm Beach as well.
According to a former prosecutor who spoke with the Miami Herald, the SDNY is able to go after individual assets through a civil-forfeiture proceeding if they determine that a property, like Epstein’s New York mansion, “was used to facilitate a crime or was the proceeds of criminal activity.” Under forfeiture laws, these assets would then be sold, with the proceeds routed to a fund within the Department of Justice that would prioritize payouts to victims. The July indictment targeted Epstein’s
$77 million Upper East Side townhouse as a holding to be confiscated, as Epstein allegedly abused several underage girls there between 2002 and 2005.
Though a criminal forfeiture at trial is no longer possible, there is precedent for authorities to confiscate his properties without a conviction. Per the Miami Herald:
In 2007, the Department of Justice brought a civil forfeiture action against the estate of the founder of Enron Corporation, CEO Kenneth Lay, who died of a heart attack while facing charges of engineering a massive fraud.
[Former federal prosecutor Jeff] Marcus said he thinks it’s likely that federal prosecutors will do the same in this case due to the number of victims and the vast extent of the estate.
If a civil forfeiture is filed, a federal judge in civil court would rule on the crimes laid out in the prosecution’s case using the standard of a “preponderance of evidence,” a lower threshold than that used to determine guilt in criminal cases.
In a statement published by Fox News on Saturday, Marc Fernich, a member of Epstein’s legal team, cited “greedy plaintiffs” as a reason for his client’s suicide — though Fernich’s perspective won’t stop lawyers representing accusers from dismantling the Epstein estate. Attorney Lisa Bloom, who paused lawsuits on behalf of two victims during the criminal investigation, said on Sunday that “we intend to promptly file those civil claims” and requested that the estate freeze all assets.
Bloom’s mother, Gloria Allred, said this weekend that the victims she represents are “feeling sick” but that she intends to find Epstein’s collaborators and file criminal charges against them: “The likes of them have to be accountable in a criminal case, because I think that without them he could not have accomplished what he did.”
The passage of the Child Victims Act in January 2019 — designed to help victims sue abusers within the Catholic Church — created a one-year window for victims to sue for sex-abuse damages, regardless of when the alleged abuse may have occurred, and extended the statute of limitations for criminal charges against child-sex abusers. The law, which goes into effect on Wednesday, will allow for a greater number of Epstein’s alleged victims to sue for monetary damages. “I think the Epstein case is emblematic of the possibilities that survivors of child-sex abuse will have beginning August 14,” New York state senator Brady Hoylman told NBC News. “Abusers currently out of reach because of New York’s archaic statutes of limitations will now be subject to civil suits, as well as their estates.”
As soon as it goes into effect, the Child Victims Act will be put into use by Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz, a woman who alleges that Epstein raped her when she was 15. Attorney Roberta Kaplan also intends to sue on Wednesday on behalf of an unidentified woman who was 14 when Epstein recruited her into his sex-trafficking ring around 2002.
Jeffrey Epstein Legal Cases: What Happens Next
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Everything We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Death
By Chas Danner, Margaret Hartmann, and Matt Stieb
He was reportedly removed from suicide watch at the request of his attorneys.
Kamala Harris Is Trying to Run Obama’s ’08 Playbook. She Has Ground to Make Up.
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The Californian has modeled her campaign on the 44th president’s. But she’s currently not doing well among black voters or in South Carolina.
Flights were canceled in Hong Kong due to another day of airport protests
Anti-government protesters brought chaos to Hong Kong’s airport for a second consecutive day Tuesday, forcing airlines to suspend check-in for departing flights, as demonstrators extended their standoff with authorities who have been unable to quell months of dissent.
After mass cancellations the previous evening, flights had been gradually returning to normal throughout Tuesday, even as thousands of black-clad demonstrators returned to occupy the terminal with placards denouncing police brutality and calling for freedom for Hong Kong.
But by late afternoon, with protesters using luggage carts as makeshift barricades and blocking passengers from reaching the departure gates, causing long lines, airport authorities said they were suspending check-in at both terminals.
Ivanka would like us to know she’s “quietly” working on gun legislation
Ivanka Trump has quietly been making calls to members of Congress in the days following the deadly mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso to gauge where they stand on pending gun legislation, sources familiar with her conversations told Axios.
Behind the scenes: Members she has privately spoken to include Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who she called last Wednesday while he was vacationing in Hawaii to get an update on the bipartisan background checks bill he has proposed with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).
The measure, which was initially introduced in 2013 in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, would expand background checks to nearly all commercial firearm sales.
“She called Manchin and said she was trying to get a sense of what bills are out there. She had him explain how they drafted the bill, where it stands and what changes needed to be made in order for it to pass,” a Manchin aide told Axios. The two had “a good talk,” but Ivanka didn’t make it clear one way or the other what the White House’s position is, the aide added.
The call followed President Trump’s own conversations with Manchin last Monday and Tuesday, first reported by the Washington Post, in which he told the senator that he wanted legislation before the Senate returns from recess in September.
New York Times Columnist: Epstein Said He Had Dirt on Powerful Acquaintances
By Matt Stieb
According to James B. Stewart, Epstein claimed to have damaging info on rich pals, and said criminalizing sex with teens was a “cultural aberration.”
The Legal Aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s Death: What Happens Next
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Prosecutors intend to pursue his co-conspirators, as lawyers representing his alleged victims look to dismantle his fortune.
Trump’s State-by-State Approval Ratings Should Scare the MAGA Out of Him
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Translating Trump’s standing in the 50 states to the 2020 electoral college vote currently shows the incumbent getting trounced.
Is It (Finally) Time to Start Worrying about a Recession?
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The company is integrating Instagram and WhatsApp more closely with Facebook to make it harder to break up.
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Trump gravitates toward outlandish conspiracy theories to explain a fairly straightforward phenomenon: People don’t like him.
2020 democratic primaries
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Betting Markets See Warren as Likeliest Democratic Nominee for the First Time
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The senator is surging.
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Revoking Kashmir’s special status ratcheted up tensions with Pakistan and China, threatening to ignite fresh conflict in the heavily militarized area.
More fallout from the Dayton shooting
A man told federal agents he bought body armor, a gun accessory and a 100-round magazine for the Dayton gunman earlier this year, according to a court document unsealed Monday.
Federal investigators emphasized that there no was indication that Ethan Kollie knew that his friend, Connor Betts, was planning a mass shooting or how he would use the equipment. The charging document says Kollie kept the equipment at his apartment, so Betts’ parents would not find it.
The accusations came as prosecutors unsealed charges against Kollie that they said were unrelated to the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton, Ohio. Betts opened fire in a popular entertainment district, killing his sister and eight others. Officers killed Betts within 30 seconds, just outside a crowded bar, and authorities have said hundreds more people may have died if Betts had gotten inside.
Remember when Republicans pretended to care about this?
What We Know About Jeffrey Epstein’s Autopsy
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The New York City medical examiner revealed that celebrity pathologist Michael Baden was allowed to observe her autopsy at the Epstein team’s request.
Bill de Blasio’s Aimless Day at the Iowa State Fair
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Everything We Know About the Failures to Prevent Jeffrey Epstein’s Death
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Attorney General Barr said there were “serious irregularities” at the federal jail where the disgraced financier killed himself.
Trump Moves Ahead With Ban on Public Assistance for Legal Immigrants
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It’s part of a broader assault on immigration and on the social safety net by Team Trump.
hong kong protests
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Massive Airport Protests Cause Cancellation of All Flights Leaving Hong Kong
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Anger at the police has become a central theme of the city’s long-running demonstrations.
Endangered species have had it too good for too long
The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.
The changes will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, would allow economic assessments to be conducted when making determinations.
The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species, a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered.
What Happens to Jeffrey Epstein’s Money Now?
By Adam K. Raymond
Jeffrey Epstein was worth more than $500 million when he died. Lawyers for his alleged victims say they’ll fight for it.
And that’s with no YMCA in sight
I am told Bill de Blasio spent approximately 7 hours at the Iowa State Fair yesterday.
Problems at MCC AG Barr says: “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Barr told a national policing conference in New Orleans, La., Monday morning.
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New Hampshire will probably need a Democratic governor to get any of this done
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed three gun control bills Friday, saying New Hampshire is one of the safest states in the nation that has a long and proud “tradition of responsible firearm stewardship.”
The bills passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature included background checks for commercial firearms sales, imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm, and prohibiting firearms on school property.
The vetoes, coming days after two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, were expected; Sununu had said he wasn’t looking to make any changes to existing gun laws.
“Our focus as a nation must be on addressing the root causes of hate and violence,” Sununu wrote.
Ok, but what took so long?
Thankfully Russia has a history of being transparent about this kind of thing
American intelligence officials are racing to understand a mysterious explosion that released radiation off the coast of northern Russia last week, apparently during the test of a new type of nuclear-propelled cruise missile hailed by President Vladimir V. Putin as the centerpiece of Moscow’s arms race with the United States.
American officials have said nothing publicly about the blast on Thursday, possibly one of the worst nuclear accidents in the region since Chernobyl, although apparently on a far smaller scale, with at least seven people, including scientists, confirmed dead. But the Russian government’s slow and secretive response has set off anxiety in nearby cities and towns — and attracted the attention of analysts in Washington and Europe who believe the explosion may offer a glimpse of technological weaknesses in Russia’s new arms program.
Thursday’s accident happened offshore of the Nenoksa Missile Test Site and was followed by what nearby local officials initially reported was a spike in radiation in the atmosphere.
How other countries respond to just one horrific mass shooting
Following the killing of 51 people in two inner-city Christchurch mosques by an Australian white supremacist, prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s government rushed through legislation to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and set aside NZ$150m to buy firearms that were now illegal.
… The governments gun-buyback scheme was launched in mid July. Since then, 10,242 firearms have been handed into police, with an additional 1,269 firearms handed in under amnesty.
An Alarming Weekend of White-Nationalist Activity
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Note to Biden Backers: A Senescent Gaffe Machine Might Not Be the Safest Bet
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If Democrats just want someone who can beat Trump, they have safer options than an Iraq War supporter who seems to be losing a step.