A lawyer representing a number of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers said they intend to file a civil suit against the embattled financier’s estate despite his death.
“Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started,” tweeted Lisa Bloom, who is representing two of the alleged victims and says she’s happy to speak to any others.
She said in an appearance on MSNBC that her clients are “on the verge” of filing a civil suit against Epstein’s estate.
According to a statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Epstein died by apparent suicide and was found unresponsive in his cell at 6:30 a.m. Saturday.
Epstein, who pleaded not guilty, was arrested on July 6 for alleged sex trafficking of minor girls through his Upper East Side mansion in Palm Beach, Fla.
Some of the charges are almost two decades old. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
The Manhattan U.S. Attorney said a criminal investigation will continue despite Epstein’s death.
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“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 ongoing,” Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.
In a court filing on July 25, the government said it was pursuing an “ongoing investigation of uncharged individuals” in connection with the case against Epstein.
Though the case against the former hedge fund manager will be dropped because no one else was charged, many civil suits will likely continue, tweeted former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti.
Bloom went on to say she would be calling on the administrators of Epstein’s estate to freeze all of his assets and hold them for the victims bringing civil suits.
“I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases. Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW,” she continued.
While there has been some dispute about the exact value of Epstein’s net worth, a number of reports suggest his fortune is worth over USD$500 million.
Robbie Kaplan, an attorney for one of the accusers, told CNN that victims “should not lose hope.”
“We will continue to fight tirelessly on their behalf not only to seek justice, but also to ensure that all of the facts of his monstrous crimes become known to the world,” he said. “We need to expose the whole truth here so that crimes of this scale and scope never happen to any young girls (or boys) ever again.”
The charges were announced more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida. He was being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while he appealed a district judge’s refusal to let him live under 24-hour guard in his home on the Upper East Side.
WATCH: Jeffrey Epstein dies by apparent suicide
The multi-millionaire was being held without bail as he awaited his trial.
After Epstein‘s arrest, prosecutors said a search of his townhouse, conducted under a warrant, uncovered evidence of hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of nude photographs of “what appeared to be underage girls,” including some photos catalogued on compact discs and kept in a locked safe.
That investigation, in the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, will continue despite Epstein‘s death, Reuters and the Associated Press report.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.
— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press.
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