Jeffrey Epstein is dead — how and why is still an open question, but what happens to the prosecution against him now?
It might seem like any opportunity for justice in the Epstein case has evaporated, since you can’t criminally prosecute a dead man, but there are still three facets to the investigation into the wealthy pedophile that are very much alive. (RELATED: Jeffrey Epstein Autopsy Reveals A Number Of Broken Bones In His Neck)
A criminal investigation continues
Criminal prosecution is foreclosed by Epstein’s death, but the warrants that were executed along with his initial arrest still allow the government to pursue a criminal investigation into Epstein’s affairs. One of the first developments after his apparent suicide has been a raid by the FBI of Epstein’s private island where it has been claimed he brought the world’s elite to rape girls he procured for them.
Epstein has several properties all over the country and abroad, which federal law enforcement has full authority to investigate. An item to look out for is a central database that describes Epstein’s affiliates and clients, which could lead to further prosecutions.
The Southern District of New York, where the primary prosecution was being conducted, has remained resolute, saying they intend to continue to thoroughly investigate Epstein’s alleged criminal wrongdoing, with an emphasis on the conspiracy charges he was facing. With that focus on conspiracy, it’ll open up the possibility of a reinstated prosecution if co-conspirators are named — the people who helped build Epstein’s vast pedophilia operation. (RELATED: FBI Agents Raid Epstein’s ‘Pedophile Island’)
However, the deal that was originally struck in Florida by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta that has come under scrutiny included a non-prosecution agreement, which co-conspirators could use to claim immunity.
A civil, not criminal, prosecution
“Death does not end civil liability, death ends criminal liability,” said Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law said to the New York Times recently. “The person is gone, but their assets remain.”
Assets is a key word here, one of the greatest mysteries of the Epstein investigation has been the general lack of awareness as to how exactly he made the money that rendered him a theoretical billionaire — really a hundred-millionaire — to begin with. Whether or not his net worth is actually a billion dollars isn’t relevant for this case though, as Epstein was flush with valuable real estate, which is one of the most difficult assets to shield from seizure.
His victims are well aware of this, and many of them intend to pursue civil suits against his estate that specifically target his real estate properties, including his New York mansion, his private islands, and other lucrative properties. The properties have the potential to be a window into Epstein’s life, with albeit inconclusive evidence, like the picture of Bill Clinton in a blue dress that was found at one of Epstein’s homes recently. (RELATED: Report: Jeffrey Epstein Allegedly Had A Portrait Of Bill Clinton Posing Provocatively In Blue Dress)
As of right now, Epstein’s younger brother Mark is poised to inherit his massive fortune, but that could change if a will is received. Complicating things further, prosecutors could seize Epstein’s properties as well, claiming that they are pertinent to the investigation. One thing is certain, the fight over Epstein’s vast estate is going to be drawn out for a long time.
An investigation of Epstein’s associates
Based on materials that could be revealed during the criminal investigation of Epstein as well as any civil suits against his estate, associates of Epstein could fall on the chopping block as accomplices in his sex trafficking crimes, or possibly worse, if they shared his pedophilic appetites.
Ghislaine Maxwell, his former lover and alleged madam is the primary target for this sort of investigation. Recently unsealed documents detail her involvement in the most explicit terms yet, but she currently has no warrant out for her arrest, and has been minimally seen in public for years, though she did pop up at a burger joint in Los Angeles just a few days after Epstein’s apparent suicide.
Her involvement has long been suspected to be a product of necessity, at least in her view. The daughter of a wealthy British businessman whose fortune quickly evaporated at one point, being Epstein’s madam likely gave Maxwell the ability to maintain the kind of lifestyle she enjoyed. (RELATED: Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell, The Woman Always Pictured With Jeffrey Epstein?)
Maxwell is named as Epstein’s recruiter of underage women in several of the civil suits that have been filed. If evidence emerges in the course of a criminal inquiry that points to that role, Maxwell could face a criminal investigation too.
She has, thus far, denied she was ever involved.