In Brief

Will the Jeffrey Epstein investigation continue?

Raid on private island show the probe continues despite financier's death

The FBI has raided Jeffrey Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean, two days after he was found dead in his New York city jail cell.

Mobile phone footage showed agents arriving on Little Saint James, in the US Virgin Islands, on Monday morning. Two senior law enforcement officials told NBC that the FBI had begun a search directed by the Epstein taskforce, which is led by the US attorney’s office for the southern district of New York.

The raid is “a further sign the death of the financier will not halt scrutiny of his alleged sex trafficking crimes,” The Guardian says.

After news broke of his death, his accusers feared that authorities would abandon investigations into others who might have been involved in a trafficking ring that targeted young girls for sexual abuse.

However, William Barr, the US attorney general, said that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it”.

Manhattan attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: “To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains on-going.”

Furthermore, argues David Weinstein, a criminal defence lawyer and former federal prosecutor in Miami, Epstein’s death could actually remove obstacles in the investigation.

“The evidence that they’ve seized from him directly, the only person who can contest the seizure [as unlawful] could be Epstein or somebody who lived with him,” Weinstein said. “Now that he’s dead, he can’t challenge that. All of that becomes fair game.”

However, legal experts believe “federal prosecutors [are] likely to dismiss the case” against Epstein, the BBC says. This might mean the most likely route for Epstein's accusers to get justice is to file civil suits for damages. Epstein died with more than $500m in assets.

“The main fact that the head of the conspiracy has been lopped off or died does not negate the fact that [others] can be charged,” criminal defence lawyer Murray Richman said.

He added that the fact that conspiracy charges were raised is significant, because it could lead to charges against others. “They’re all persons involved in the conspiracy and they’re all persons that can be charged – each and every one of them.”

Epstein, 66, was facing sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges, which carried jail sentences of up to 45 years, when he died. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Recommended

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?
FBI director Christopher Wray
Speed Reads

Was attempted FBI break-in linked to Trump raid?

What is going on in women’s prisons?
A female prison officer in HM Prison Styal
Getting to grips with . . .

What is going on in women’s prisons?

Ryan Giggs trial: lockdown ‘utter hell’ for ex
Ryan Giggs outside Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court
In Depth

Ryan Giggs trial: lockdown ‘utter hell’ for ex

What was the FBI looking for in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate?
Police stand outside Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday
Today’s big question

What was the FBI looking for in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate?

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 August 2022
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 17 August 2022

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Inside Adelaide Cottage: Prince William and Kate’s new home ‘away from prying eyes’
William and Kate
In Depth

Inside Adelaide Cottage: Prince William and Kate’s new home ‘away from prying eyes’

The Week Footer Banner