Despite Jeffrey Epstein’s death, how his accusers could still find a measure of justice

Despite Jeffrey Epstein’s death, how his accusers could still find a measure of justice


AMNA NAWAZ: Attorney General William Barr
today sharply criticized the management of
the
Manhattan federal jail where wealthy financier
Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell
this weekend.
As John Yang reports, Epstein’s death does
not mean the end to the federal sex-trafficking
investigation that
led to his indictment.
JOHN YANG, PBS NEWSHOUR CORRESPONDENT: Amna,
in his remarks today, the attorney general
also pledged that any co-conspirators should
not rest easy.
The victims, he said, deserve justice and
they
will get it.
So where does the case go now?
Jessica Roth is a professor at Yeshiva University’s
Cardozo School of Law, and joins us from New
York.
Jessica Roth, thanks.
What do prosecutors in the case of the United
States versus Jeffrey Epstein do now
that Jeffrey Epstein is dead?
JESSICA ROTH, YESHIVA UNIVERSITY: Well, the
case against Jeffrey Epstein himself will
be
dismissed because he’s now deceased and you
can’t proceed with a criminal case against
a person who’s
dead, but the overall criminal investigation
will continue.
Over the weekend, U.S. attorney for the southern
district of New York, Geoff Berman issued
a statement in which he made clear that the
criminal
investigation would continue and he said that
his office would continue to stand for the
victims, stand up
for the victims, and, in particular, he pointed
to the fact that Jeffrey Epstein had been
charged in one count
of the indictment with conspiring with others
to engage in sex trafficking and that’s significant
because the
law of conspiracy requires proof that two
or more persons agreed to commit a crime.
And what that means is that Mr. Berman was
prepared to prove in court that at least one
other person and
possibly others were engaged in a criminal
conspiracy with Jeffrey Epstein.
JOHN YANG: Well, we know that in the Flor
— that highly criticized Florida non-prosecution
agreement,
there are named — were named four potential
co-conspirators who were not charged, and
in this New York
indictment, there were three people cited
though not named who also participated in
this.
Do you think
we’re likely to see indictments against those
folks coming up in the coming days?
JESSICA ROTH: I don’t know about the timeline,
but certainly from everything that’s been
indicated by
the U.S. attorney’s office and what’s been
publicly reported, it would seem that they
have significant
evidence against other people.
As you mentioned in the indictment, there
are people identified not by name
but in terms of the role that they played.
So, clearly, the U.S. attorney’s office has
evidence against those
other people and they will be pursuing that
investigation and looking also at the evidence
that was collected
during the search of Jeffrey Epstein’s home
that was done on the day of his arrest to
see what that yields at
the involvement of co-conspirators and accomplices.
It’s been reported that his pilots have been
subpoenaed for their testimony, and they would
have significant
information about who was else may have been
involved in arranging the travel for the sex
trafficking.
So
I think we need to be patient as the investigators
reorient to a case in which Jeffrey Epstein
will not sit at
the table, but Mr. Berman made clear that
the investigation is ongoing.
JOHN YANG: And even without a conviction,
can prosecutors go after his assets or in
this case, I guess,
his estate?
JESSICA ROTH: Yes.
So there’s still a process in which the U.S.
attorney’s office, through its U.S.
attorneys office, can go after assets that
were used to facilitate the crimes that have
been alleged here.
So,
for example, his Manhattan town house, allegedly,
was involved — was used as a place where
some of the
unlawful activity occurred.
If his properties in the Virgin Island were
involved.
Those also could be
sought through what’s called a civil asset
forfeiture proceeding.
The advantage of that, first, is that it can
be handled by the U.S. attorney’s office,
and any assets that were
recovered distributed to victims for restitution
through the federal government.
It also allows a proof by
preponderance of evidence standard which is
a civil standard of proof rather than the
criminal beyond a
reasonable doubt standard.
It allows offers an advantage frankly, of
allowing the narrative of what
unfolded in his crimes to be told, because
much of the same proof would be offered that
would have been
offered in a criminal trial against Jeffrey
Epstein.
JOHN YANG: And, of course, this doesn’t do
anything to the civil lawsuits that might
be coming from
accusers?
JESSICA ROTH: No, those can proceed as well.
So, the accusers have multiple avenues through
which
they can seek some measure of justice.
None will be the same, of course, as actually
confronting Jeffrey
Epstein in a criminal case.
But through the civil lawsuits, they can pursue
his estate.
As I mentioned, the
civil asset forfeiture proceedings against
specific assets that were used to facilitate
his crimes is another
avenue of potential relief, and then, of course,
as we discussed a moment ago, there’s a possibility
of
criminal proceedings against others who were
his accomplices and co-conspirators.
JOHN YANG: Jessica Roth of the Cardozo School
of Law, thank you very much.
ROTH: Thank you.

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