‘We need answers. Lots of them.’ What’s known and what’s next after Jeffrey Epstein’s death

Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire financier indicted on federal sex-trafficking charges, died after he was discovered unresponsive from an “apparent suicide” on Saturday morning in a federal detention center in Manhattan. His death has raised questions about the investigation and its political implications.

What happens to the case now?

Epstein’s death comes a day after new documents pertaining to his global sex-trafficking ring were unsealed in court filings on Friday.

On Saturday, Attorney General William P. Barr said that he was “appalled” after hearing about the suspect’s death and that many questions would need to be answered, according to a Justice Department statement. Barr said he “consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”

Epstein was placed on suicide watch last month but then taken off within about a week, a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity told The Washington Post. But he was subject to higher security in a special housing unit.

Because Epstein is dead, the criminal case is over, but that doesn’t mean all investigations surrounding the allegations will cease, said Paul Butler, a professor of law at Georgetown University and former federal prosecutor.

He said investigators may now turn to others who were accused of being involved with the sex-trafficking activities. According to Butler, this is partly because accusers feel they haven’t received justice.

“Even though the criminal prosecution of Mr. Epstein ended this morning, there remained questions about co-conspirators,” Butler said.

Attorneys representing some accusers said they will continue to seek justice.

There’s a whole network that enabled him and allowed this to happen, and it’s time that everyone who was a part of this be held accountable,” said Kimberly Lerner, an attorney for one of Epstein’s accusers.

Jennifer Araoz, Lerner’s client and one of the women who has accused Epstein, said in a statement that she and others will 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.”

“Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims,” Araoz said.

Brad Edwards, a lawyer who represents some of the other alleged victims said: “The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled is both unfortunate and predictable. While he and I engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for. The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”

How are lawmakers reacting?

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reacted to Saturday’s news with frustration and sadness. Reactions were especially strong from New York and Florida, where Epstein had residences and allegations were made.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “We need answers. Lots of them.”

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.) said the “victims have once again been denied their day in court.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said in a statement on Saturday: “The victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s heinous actions deserved an opportunity for justice. Today, that opportunity was denied to them. The Federal Bureau of Prisons must provide answers on what systemic failures of the MCC Manhattan or criminal acts allowed this coward to deny justice to his victims.”

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) said in a statement on Saturday: “The victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s heinous actions deserved an opportunity for justice. Today, that opportunity was denied to them. The Federal Bureau of Prisons must provide answers on what systemic failures of the MCC Manhattan or criminal acts allowed this coward to deny justice to his victims.”

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) said on Twitter he couldn’t “even begin to imagine how many horrific secrets this sick perv is taking to the grave.”

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in a letter to Barr: “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. Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance. Obviously, heads must roll.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) tweeted he was “pleased the @TheJusticeDept Inspector General and FBI will be investigating. There are many questions that need to be answered in this case.”

On Saturday afternoon, Trump retweeted conspiracy theories that blamed the Clintons for Epstein’s death. Earlier in the day, Trump appointee Lynn Patton, an administrator at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), similarly targeted Hillary Clinton in an Instagram post.

What do we know about the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein was found dead?

The Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan has held various criminals, ranging from Bernard Madoff, who orchestrated an enormous Ponzi scheme, to notorious drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán. In June, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was moved to the MCC, The Post reported.

According to Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, an al-Qaeda conspirator, the prison at Guantanamo Bay was “more pleasant” and “more relaxed” than the federal facility, the New York Times reported in 2010.

What do we know about suicide in jail?

Suicide is the most common cause of death in jails, where 50 of every 100,000 inmates died by suicide in 2014 — a rate 3.5 times that of the general population, the Associated Press reported. High rates of addicted and mentally ill people behind bars are believed to contribute to the problem, as well as possible poor treatment of inmates and the stress of being incarcerated.

Among the most high-profile inmate suicides in recent years is the death of Sandra Bland, a Texas woman whom police say they pulled over in July 2015 because she failed to signal while she changed lanes. Authorities said Bland, 28, hanged herself within three days of being arrested on a charge of assaulting an officer.

In the year after Bland’s death, at least 815 people died by suicide in U.S. jails, HuffPost reported. Suicides accounted for nearly one-third of the jail deaths counted by the news organization, which said its numbers were incomplete because of lack of access to data.

Former deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein said Saturday on Twitter that preventing self-harm by people accused of pedophilia is difficult. A report in the journal Federal Probation that he posted says defendants charged with sex crimes often experience suicidal ideation because of shame and the likelihood of a prison sentence.

The report cites a suicide prevention program in the Central District of California that involves a psychological assessment, support group sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy, lessons on healthy coping skills and education about the federal prison system. None of the 100 defendants that had gone through the program when the report was released had died by suicide.

In addition to whether a defendant is a flight risk and the likelihood that they will commit criminal activity, the report said, judges should consider the risk of suicide when deciding whether to grant someone pretrial release.

Epstein’s accusers still deserve justice and will go after his alleged enablers, their lawyers say

Lawyers representing Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers said Saturday that his death won’t stop their clients from seeking justice from those they say enabled or conspired with Epstein to allegedly sexually abuse dozens of underage girls.

The attorneys condemned as cowardly Epstein’s apparent suicide overnight while in a federal facility on charges of sex trafficking because now he won’t ever have to face the women he allegedly hurt.

“I guess there is somewhat an element of relief because the fear of him getting out is obviously over, but there is also, they’ll never be able to look into his eye and say, ‘You hurt me.’ There’s that element of closure that he’s taken away from them,” said Kimberly Lerner, an attorney for one of Epstein’s accusers.

But, Lerner said, Epstein’s death isn’t “the end, it’s just a new beginning.”

There’s a whole network that enabled him and allowed this to happen and it’s time that everyone who was a part of this be held accountable,” she said.

Lerner’s client, Jennifer Araoz, released her own statement about Epstein’s death. Araoz has accused Epstein of raping her in his New York City home when she was 15. She said she was recruited outside her high school to make regular visits to his house

“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,” Araoz said. “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”

Epstein’s death came less than a day after new details about his alleged sexual abuse of underage girls were unsealed in court filings. In the documents — part of a lawsuit settled in 2017 against a woman who allegedly recruited underage girls for Epstein — accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre named

  • Prince Andrew, former New Mexico governor
  • Bill Richardson (D) and former Senate majority leader
  • George J. Mitchell (D-Maine) among the prominent men in Epstein’s orbit she was ordered to have sex with.

All three men have denied any wrongdoing. Epstein, a multimillionaire, kept powerful company and socialized with both President Trump and former president Bill Clinton.

Epstein was arrested last month on federal sex trafficking charges that could have put in him prison for 45 years. New York University Law School professor Stephen Gillers said Epstein’s death puts an end to that prosecution, but it doesn’t mean the investigation is over.

“Is there the equivalent of a little black book whose contents implicates others? Was incriminating video, email or voice mail found in his mansion’s safe?” Gillers said. “While the case against Epstein is over, the investigation is not.”

Federal investigators, who earlier this year asked women who had allegedly been abused by the financier to come forward, may decide to keep digging as they explore whether any of Epstein’s alleged procurers and enablers should be charged.

Even if there are no further criminal cases, Epstein’s estate will be peppered with civil suits seeking restitution and damages for both his alleged financial and sexual misdeeds. Epstein spent the last dozen years of his life fending off lawsuits from some of the women who said he had abused them, and more women have been emboldened to speak about their experiences with him in recent months.

But all those cases will face a long and convoluted road, because Epstein, according to several of his associates, was both secretive about his finances and adept at hiding resources in foreign accounts. Epstein’s first business partner, Steven Hoffenberg, said the financier had more money than he had admitted in court documents and that it was tucked away in places where law enforcement officials would have a difficult time finding it.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who currently represents two Epstein accusers, said she’d been helping them cooperate with law enforcement on the criminal case. Now that Epstein is dead, she said, they will be filing a civil case against his estate.

“I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases. Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW,” she tweeted. “Jeffrey Epstein’s jail suicide means one thing and one thing only: consciousness of guilt.”

Bloom later tweeted a statement from an unnamed client who said Epstein’s death stole her chance for closure.

“I’m angry as hell the prison could have allowed this to happen and that I and his other victims will never see him face the consequences for his horrendous actions,” the accuser said.

Epstein’s death could intensify the spotlight on his longtime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell. One of Epstein’s accusers has said Maxwell recruited underage girls for Epstein. Maxwell has denied any wrongdoing and has fought back aggressively in civil suits that have been meandering through courts for years. Calls and emails to Maxwell’s attorneys were not returned Saturday.

Sigrid McCawley, who represents Giuffre, said in a statement: “The reckoning of accountability begun by the voices of brave and truthful victims should not end with Jeffrey Epstein’s cowardly and shameful suicide.

“The fact that Epstein took his own life within 24 hours of the unsealing of detailed and devastating documents and exhibits in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, which informed the public of the scope, scale and sophistication of the international sex trafficking operation Epstein conducted, is no coincidence,” McCawley said.

Spencer Kuvin, who represents three of Epstein’s accusers — all Royal Palm Beach High School students in Palm Beach County, Fla., when they allegedly worked for Epstein — said he spoke with one of his clients after the news of Epstein’s death and described her as “numb.”

“She’s numb to what occurred because of the history and she wanted for years to put this behind herself,” he said. “Seeing an evil person like this ultimately end his life puts some closure on what occurred.”

“She would like to see a continued prosecution and investigation into those that allowed all this to happen,” he said.

Another lawyer for accusers, Bradley Edwards, said this wasn’t the ending anyone hoped for because Epstein’s alleged victims deserved more.

“The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled is both unfortunate and predictable,” Edwards said. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused. We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice. It is never too late to come forward with information.”

How Elizabeth Warren Learned to Fight

She was Betsy to her mother, who expected her to marry. Liz to fellow high school debaters, whom she regularly beat. Now, the lessons of an Oklahoma childhood are center stage in the presidential race.

OKLAHOMA CITY — It was 1962 in Oklahoma City and Liz Herring, a new student at Northwest Classen High School, was feeling insecure. She was good at school, had skipped a grade, and now, as a skinny freshman with glasses and crooked teeth who had grown up in a town south of the capital, she was hungry to fit in.

She joined the Cygnet Pep Club to show her school spirit and the Courtesy Club to help visitors find their way around the school. She became a member of the Announcers Club, reading messages over the school’s central sound system. But it was the debate club where she really found herself. At a time when Home Ec and preparing for marriage were priorities for young women, debate was a place where they could compete on equal ground.

She loved learning about the big topics of the day — Medicare, unions, nuclear disarmament. She began carrying around a large metal box with hundreds of index cards with quotes and facts written on them.

She was competitive and had extraordinary focus and self-discipline, spending hours after school each day practicing. Joe Pryor, a high school friend and debate teammate, remembers her “ruthlessness in preparation.” By the time they were juniors, he said, “she was just flat out better than me.”

Malcom Gladwell Keynote Speech at University of Miami Real Estate Impact Conference

Malcolm Gladwell talks about the law of criminal concentration.

He says that crime and suicide (on the Golden Gate bridge) are coupled and do not result in displacement.

(40:50 min) Of the 515 people who attempted suicide on the Golden Gate bridge, only 25 attempt again in another way.

(42:40 min) Most police deny that the law of criminal concentration exists.  They deploy stop-and-frisk too broadly.  There are no “bad neighborhoods”.  There are only “bad blocks”.