Seeking Justice After Jeffrey Epstein's Death
Editor’s Note: This hour discusses suicide, and contains audio that some listeners may find disturbing or offensive.
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.
With Meghna Chakrabarti
Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a jail cell and the handling of his case overall are both failures of the criminal justice system. So how do the dozens of his accusers find justice now?
Barbara McQuade, former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. Professor at the University of Michigan Law School. (@BarbMcQuade)
From The Reading List
Wall Street Journal: “There Were ‘Serious Irregularities’ at Federal Jail Where Jeffrey Epstein Died, Barr Says” — “Investigators have found ‘serious irregularities’ at the federal jail in New York where Jeffrey Epstein was being held on sex-trafficking charges, Attorney General William Barr said Monday, deepening the mystery surrounding the disgraced financier’s death.
“Mr. Epstein, 66 years old, was found dead Saturday at the Manhattan detention facility administered by the federal Bureau of Prisons. The New York City medical examiner believes Mr. Epstein’s cause of death is suicide by hanging, but is awaiting additional information from law enforcement before releasing her official findings, a city official said.
“Among the primary questions for investigators is why Mr. Epstein was taken off suicide watch and left alone with minimal supervision. After an earlier incident in which he was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck, Mr. Epstein was put in the suicide-watch unit July 23, but was removed from the watch days later at the request of his attorneys and after daily psychological evaluations.”
New York Times: “Why the Jeffrey Epstein Investigation Is Not Over” — “Jeffrey Epstein is dead. But the criminal investigation that led to the sex-trafficking charges against him is not.
“Federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who built the case against Mr. Epstein will turn their attention to people whom his accusers have said participated in a scheme that dates back more than a decade and involved the sexual exploitation of dozens of underage girls.
“That could include a circle of close associates whom accusers said helped recruit, train and coerce them into catering to Mr. Epstein, a wealthy financier.
“Soon after Mr. Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide in a federal jail on Saturday, Geoffrey S. Berman, the chief federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said his office’s investigation would continue, and pointedly mentioned that the government’s indictment against Mr. Epstein included a conspiracy charge.”
The Daily Beast: “Jeffrey Epstein’s Death Once Again Denies His Victims Justice” — “For law enforcement officials, the first rule of dealing with victims of crime is to avoid re-victimizing them. In the case of Jeffrey Epstein, the Department of Justice failed.
“Epstein, the wealthy financier who was charged with sex trafficking of underage girls, was found dead in his New York jail cell early Saturday morning in what Attorney General William Barr called ‘an apparent suicide.’
“His death occurred even though he had been on suicide watch for six days in July after he had been found in his cell unconscious with bruises around his neck, after a possible attempt to take his own life. A judge had found that Epstein was a risk of flight and a danger to the community, and ordered him detained while he awaited trial on federal charges in the Southern District of New York.
“It is tempting to frame Epstein’s death as just deserts, a likely self-inflicted death sentence for a particularly egregious crime, but it is an affront to justice in many ways. The federal Bureau of Prisons, part of DOJ, owes a duty of care to individuals in its custody. No matter how heinous the charges, criminal defendants are presumed innocent, and are to be protected from harm, even from themselves. Early reports indicate that Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, and BOP protocol permits a detainee to be removed from suicide watch only after a face-to-face interview with the suicide prevention program coordinator, usually a psychologist, or his designee. Even so, guards reportedly were required to check on Epstein every 30 minutes, and reportedly failed to do so on the night of his death.”
New York Magazine: “A Former U.S. Attorney Discusses Where Jeffrey Epstein’s Legal Cases Will Go After His Death” — “Facing a criminal case for sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy, multiple civil cases by alleged victims, and a Department of Justice inquiry into his wrist-slap plea deal in Florida, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide has opened a flurry of questions about the future status of his legal proceedings. As for the criminal charges, those are effectively kaput: As former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti explains, ‘Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide ends the criminal case against him because no one else was charged in the indictment.’
“Many questions — not to mention full-blown conspiracy theories — remain. How much more about Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking ring will come to light? Will others be indicted? What might we find out from the FBI and Department of Justice inquiries into Epstein’s suicide? To help weigh these questions, Intelligencer spoke with former U.S. Attorney and New York contributor Barbara McQuade about where the legal proceedings involving the sex offender go from here.
“How much information about Epstein and his co-conspirators will never be known because the criminal case against him closes with his death?
“It could be quite a bit. His case will no doubt be dismissed: You can’t have a prosecution without a defendant. So it will probably be dismissed Monday morning. But I do think that it is likely that investigators will continue to investigate any co-conspirators who are involved in this case. We know the names of some of the women who were assisting him. And then there’s also the interesting and unusual language in the plea agreement out of the Southern District of Florida about granting immunity to any potential co-conspirators. So my guess is, they will continue to investigate whether there are co-conspirators. It may be that never pans out into any charges, for lots of reasons: a lack of evidence, evidence that’s unavailable because you needed Epstein. So it could be that we never hear anything more about it. But I think they’ll continue to investigate, and if they find evidence of a crime, that will become publicly known.”
Anna Bauman produced this hour for broadcast.
This article was originally published on WBUR.org.
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