Despite Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide, prosecutors say they plan to continue their investigation into the alleged crimes of child sex trafficking committed by Epstein and his associates. The office of the U.S. Attorney of the Southern District of New York released a statement on Saturday promising it will be “standing for” Epstein’s victims:
“Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court. 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.”
Epstein reportedly hanged himself sometime on Friday night and was taken to a hospital the following morning, where he was pronounced dead. His suicide came hours after court documents were unsealed that detailed new sexual abuse allegations concerning Epstein and Ghislaine Maxell, his former girlfriend and alleged co-conspirator.
While Maxwell or any other of Epstein’s associates have not been named as co-conspirators in the case, former federal prosecutor Daniel C. Richman told the New York Times that prosecutors may have some names in mind. “Its use of conspiracy charges suggests it already has some living people in its sights,” Richman said. Investigators may also focus on Epstein’s finances as they attempt to shed light behind the source of his massive wealth and figure out how he was able to fund his alleged sex-trafficking operation over the years.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is also opening an investigation into the death of Epstein, CNN reports. “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska sent a letter to Barr calling out the DOJ for allowing Epstein’s suicide to happen. “The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal. Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” the letter reads.
Epstein’s victims also expressed their anger about Epstein’s death. “I am extremely mad and hurt thinking he once again thought he was above us and took the easy way out,” Jena-Lisa Jones, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, said in a statement.
Another victim, Jennifer Araoz, called for prosecutors to pursue Epstein’s accomplices, saying, “We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people.”