Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers are asking a South Florida federal judge to retain a non-prosecution agreement that may now protect his accomplices, despite the defendant’s death.
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The agreement, that was privately negotiated between Epstein’s attorneys and the U.S. attorney for Miami over a decade ago, prevents Epstein from being federally prosecuted in Florida.
If Florida Judge Kenneth Marra chooses to withhold the agreement, Epstein’s accomplices would be protected from federal charges in South Florida. In February, Marra ruled the 2007 agreement violated the Crime Victim Rights Act. Next, Marra will need to determine what the victims receive as retribution for the violation of their rights.
With Epstein's death by apparent suicide last week, his accusers will not be able to face him in court on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan last month. Epstein's death "effectively ends" the criminal case against him, but his accusers can pursue civil cases against his estate.
Lisa Bloom, a civil rights attorney who has represented sexual harassment victims on a national stage in the past, said the victims can still pursue a case in a social post.
Attorneys for Epstein’s victims argued on Monday that the secret agreement was null and void in Epstein’s death and they requested that the judge immediately ignore the deal that protects Epstein’s accomplices from being charged with federal sex crimes. By tearing up the deal, federal prosecutors could indict the co-conspirators and would allow victims to sue them in addition to Epstein.
"It would be unfair to the victims if Epstein not only managed to cheat justice through his death, but also left behind some kind of legal issue preventing the victims from obtaining the remedy to which they are plainly entitled," said attorneys Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell in that filing.
Epstein’s attorneys argued that in the financier’s death, all criminal justice process against him had ended, so ultimately the back-and-forth was “moot.” Despite his death, his attorneys argued the accomplices have a right to due process, though they have never before come forward in any court filings regarding their immunity.
Epstein's attorney Roy Black added: "At a minimum, there should be notice to them so that they have a full and fair opportunity to litigate the claims affecting them, and are afforded the deep-rooted historic tradition that everyone should have his own day in court.”
While there is not suggested timing for the ruling, if Marra, chooses to throw out the non-prosecution agreement, it would be unprecedented.