WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A last-minute settlement has been reached in Florida in a long-running lawsuit involving a politically-connected financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls. The deal came Tuesday just before jury selection was to begin, and for now, it means none of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein will be able to testify.
A lawyer for Epstein read an apology from him to attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents some victims. Edwards claimed Epstein tried to damage his reputation by suing him.
The 65-year-old Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state sex charges, served a year in jail and became a registered sex offender. But in a secret deal with federal prosecutors led by now-Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Epstein avoided a possible life term, and victims weren’t heard from in court.
Jeffrey Epstein mug shot Palm Beach Co. Sheriff’s Dept.
CBS affiliate WPEC-TV reports Epstein’s alleged victims were expected to testify.
“For a man that was a multi-millionaire, if not billionaire at the time, he was able to buy his way out of what should have been a life sentence,” said attorney Spencer Kuvin, who represented three young women who alleged they were lured to Epstein’s Palm Beach estate while they were underage.
There, the young women said Epstein engaged in sex acts with them.
WPEC reports that Kuvin said he’s aware of at least 39 young women whose allegations against Epstein were investigated by law enforcement. Kuvin said there were likely additional victims.
“And it was really unbelievable to us at the time that the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the U.S. Attorney’s Office, wasn’t taking the matter more seriously,” he said.
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