Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York will continue investigating the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide Saturday morning, they said in a statement.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman urged anyone who may be a victim in the case or may have information to contact the FBI.
“Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court,” Berman said. He continued:
“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.”
Epstein pleaded not guilty to two counts involving sex trafficking after his arrest early last month, and since then, prosecutors say, dozens more accusers have come forward. A judge refused to release him from the Manhattan Correctional Center on bail, citing prosecutors’ concerns that he would be both a flight risk and a danger to the community.
While the criminal charges against Epstein cannot proceed, accusers may pursue civil litigation against his estate. Any potential conspirators could also be charged.
Questions have swirled around Epstein’s potential enablers ― well-connected friends and others close to him who may have known that he sexually abused young girls but did not intervene. The multimillionaire financier is known to have socialized with wealthy businessmen, heads of state including former President Bill Clinton, world-renowned scientists and celebrities including Naomi Campbell and Donald Trump, back when he was a real estate tycoon.
Just one day before he was found dead, an appellate court unsealed more than 2,000 documents in a defamation case between Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre and longtime Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell. A review of the records by HuffPost revealed upsetting details about what could amount to an elite, international sex trafficking ring of underaged girls. The suit was settled in 2017 for an undisclosed sum.
The New York charges came around a decade after prosecutors in Florida, led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta, granted Epstein an extraordinarily lax plea deal on charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
Investigations into Epstein’s death are ongoing by officials at the FBI and the New York Medical Examiner’s Office.
Epstein had been on suicide watch following a July 23 incident that left him lying semiconscious on the floor of his cell with marks around his neck; it was being treated as a possible attack or suicide attempt.
The financier was taken off suicide watch, however, at some point prior to his death, according to The Associated Press. The Justice Department declined to provide further information about Epstein’s detention.