1. News

‘Coward’: Epstein accusers pour out their anger in court

Tom Hays and Larry Neumeister, The Related Press
Revealed Tuesday, August 27, 2019 1:38AM EDT
Final Up to date Tuesday, August 27, 2019 2:31PM EDT

NEW YORK — One after the other, 16 girls who say they have been sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein poured out their anger Tuesday, lashing out at him as a coward and a manipulator, after a choose gave them the day in court docket they have been denied when he killed himself behind bars.

“He robbed me of my dreams, of my chance to pursue a career I adored,” stated Jennifer Araoz, who has accused Epstein of raping her in his New York mansion when she was a 15-year-old aspiring actress.

The listening to was convened by U.S. District Choose Richard Berman, who presided over the case after federal prosecutors had Epstein arrested final month.

The query earlier than the choose was whether or not to throw out the indictment due to the defendant’s dying, a normally professional forma step undertaken with no listening to. However the choose provided Epstein’s accusers a unprecedented alternative to talk in court docket.

Along with the ladies who spoke, statements from over a dozen others have been learn in court docket by their attorneys.

Repeatedly, the ladies described themselves as survivors and stated they hoped coming ahead would assist different girls. They vented their fury over Epstein’s alleged crimes and his suicide in his jail cell Aug. 10 whereas awaiting trial on sex-trafficking costs involving dozens of teenage women.

“He is a coward,” stated Courtney Wild, who has stated she was sexually abused by Epstein in Florida at 14. “Justice has never been served in this case.”

“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at me,” Araoz stated. “They let this man kill himself and kill the chance for justice for so many others.”

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has stated she was a 15-year-old working at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago membership when she was recruited to carry out intercourse acts on Epstein, instructed the court docket: “My hopes were quickly dashed and my dreams were stolen.”

Sarah Ransome, who stated Epstein pressured her into intercourse when she was in her early 20s, inspired federal prosecutors of their effort to go after those that helped the financier in his pursuit of victims, saying, “Finish what you started. … We are survivors, and the pursuit of justice should not abate.”

Amongst these underneath scrutiny: Epstein’s girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of recruiting younger girls for his sexual pleasure and participating within the abuse. She has denied any wrongdoing.

In opening the session, the choose known as the 66-year-old Epstein’s suicide a “rather stunning turn of events.” He defended his resolution to let the ladies communicate, saying, “Public hearings … promote transparency and provide the court with insights and information that the court might otherwise not be aware of.”

Through the 2 1/2-hour continuing, the ladies generally clutched each other to lend assist. Most remained composed, however a number of cried as they described falling into Epstein’s net. His suicide left a few of them indignant, others unhappy. One stated she was relieved that he was gone and will abuse no others.

Some girls described their disgrace and embarrassment, saying Epstein manipulated them, dangling his wealth and energy and connection to celebrities and political figures, whereas seizing on their vulnerabilities.

A number of of the ladies selected to testify anonymously, together with one who stated she was 15 when she was flown to Epstein’s New Mexico ranch. Whereas molesting her, he was additionally “explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how he was helping me grow,” she stated.

She stated that as he abused her, she might see framed photos of him on a dresser, smiling with celebrities.

Teala Davies, taking deep breaths to regular her voice, stated she was 17 when she was victimized. She stated she thought Epstein was essentially the most highly effective particular person on the earth.

“But the end is here, and here I stand, feeling more powerful than he will ever be,” she stated.

A New York Metropolis coroner dominated that Epstein hanged himself. However one among Epstein’s attorneys, Martin Weinberg, challenged that discovering throughout Tuesday’s listening to, saying an skilled employed by the defence decided that damaged bones in his neck have been “more consistent with pressure … with homicide” than suicide.

“Find out what happened to our client,” the lawyer instructed the choose. “We’re quite angry.”

When a prosecutor stated the way of Epstein’s dying was irrelevant to Tuesday’s proceedings, the choose responded: “Well, I don’t know. … I think it’s fair game for defence counsel to raise its concerns.” However the choose took no speedy motion on the request, and prosecutors famous {that a} grand jury is already investigating the dying.

At his dying, Epstein was being held with out bail, accused of abusing women within the early 2000s at his mansions in New York and Palm Seashore, Florida.

Within the wake of his suicide, the warden of the federal jail and the performing director of the Bureau of Prisons have been eliminated, and two guards who have been purported to be watching Epstein have been positioned on depart.

Epstein’s attorneys contended he couldn’t be prosecuted as a result of he signed a non-prosecution take care of federal authorities over a decade in the past in Florida that resulted in a 13-month stint in jail on state prostitution-related costs. Federal prosecutors in New York stated that deal didn’t forestall the brand new costs.

The Related Press doesn’t determine alleged victims of intercourse crimes until they offer their consent, which a number of Epstein accusers have completed.

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