Before prosecutors dismiss their case against Jeffrey Epstein, victims of the deceased sex offender will get a chance to speak in court.
Tomorrow morning, multiple women are expected to appear in Manhattan federal court—including new accusers with plans to sue Epstein’s estate, which is already facing five other lawsuits over his alleged sex-trafficking scheme.
Famed lawyer Gloria Allred said she’ll be there with a number of clients who say they’re victims of the late financier. “We have not filed lawsuits for them yet, but we will be filing lawsuits for them soon,” Allred told The Daily Beast.
Attorney Brad Edwards, who’s represented Epstein’s victims for more than a decade, will also watch Tuesday’s hearing with his law partner, Stan Pottinger.
“Regardless of the number of people who appear, the invitation for victims to be present and participate is very important, not only for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein but for crime victims generally,” Edwards said.
The closing of Epstein’s criminal case comes nearly two months after the 66-year-old’s July 6 arrest for child sex-trafficking—and weeks after his jail-house suicide. Epstein killed himself shortly after a cache of court records were unsealed in a 2015 lawsuit filed by Victoria Roberts Giuffre, who has long claimed Epstein kept her as his “sex slave” and forced her to have sex with Prince Andrew. (Buckingham Palace has denied the allegations.) The documents revealed more sexual abuse allegations against Epstein’s famous friends.
After Epstein’s demise, the focus in the press quickly shifted to British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who accusers say was Epstein’s madam and recruited and groomed girls and took part in the abuse herself. Maxwell hasn’t been charged in connection to Epstein’s case, and it’s unclear whether she’s cooperating with authorities.
Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, vowed his investigation would continue following Epstein’s death.
“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,” Berman said in a statement.
The feds have previously suggested they were eyeing possible accomplices. One July court filing, which requested a protective order for certain documents, stated that prosecutors were investigating “uncharged individuals.”
In the meantime, prosecutors in Paris, France, are looking into rape charges against Epstein, while New Mexico’s commissioner of public lands has handed investigators 400 pages of property records which may contain the names of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators. The perverted money manager owned a residence on Paris’ Avenue Foch, as well as a 10,000-acre ranch in Stanley, New Mexico.
While victims wait to see if authorities charge others in Epstein’s orbit, they’re pursuing justice another way: in lawsuits against his estate, his companies, his supposed recruiters and employees, and, in one case, against Ghislaine Maxwell.
Jennifer Araoz was the first to sue Epstein’s estate—and Maxwell—after his death. Araoz claims she was 14 and attending a performing arts high-school when she was recruited into Epstein’s sex ring in 2001. Epstein repeatedly abused Araoz at his Manhattan mansion, her lawsuit states, and when she was 15 years old, he raped her.
Epstein allegedly preyed on Araoz, who was poor and being raised by a single mother after losing her father to AIDS, and claimed that his connections in the modeling and acting worlds could help launch her career.
Soon after Araoz’s suit was filed, two women identified only as Jane Does 1 and 2 sued Epstein’s estate, an adult recruiter “Sue Roe,” whose identity isn’t known, and Roes 2 through 10, who were “employees and/or agents of Epstein.”
In June 2004, the Jane Does were aspiring models and hostesses at The Coffee Shop, a Manhattan restaurant that was opened by a trio of Wilhelmina models and earned a reputation for its attractive waitstaff. The eatery closed last year.
Sue Roe allegedly approached the women at work, offering them hundreds of dollars to give Epstein “harmless” massages. According to the complaint, “Sue Roe told Jane Doe 1 that her ‘boss’ thought Jane Doe 1 was beautiful and that he liked to give young girls ‘opportunities.’” Roe had assured the women that Epstein wouldn’t touch them, but when they visited his home, he molested them and masturbated, their lawsuit states.
The women are represented by Lisa Bloom, who told The Daily Beast a member of her firm will be in court on Tuesday to read statements from four victims she represents. (Bloom says she’s in the middle of a trial in Los Angeles and cannot make it.)
Last week, the New York Post reported Epstein’s last will and testament was inked just two days before he hanged himself at Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Epstein left his $577 million fortune to a mysterious entity called The 1953 Trust and named his longtime lawyers, Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, as the primary executors of the estate. Records show the men hired the firm of Erika Kellerhals, another loyal Epstein attorney based in the Virgin Islands, to represent them in the probate proceedings.
As The Daily Beast previously revealed, Indyke, Kahn and Kellerhals made up a cadre of operatives who handled Epstein’s business matters and were officers of his nonprofits, including the financier’s secret charity, Gratitude America Ltd.
Now Indyke and Kahn, as representatives of Epstein’s estate, are named in three new federal lawsuits filed by accusers last week. The women—identified by the pseudonyms Katlyn Doe, Priscilla Doe, and Lisa Doe—are represented by Edwards and Pottinger. Their complaints list as defendants several of Epstein’s companies, including the Florida Science Foundation, and HBRK Associates, Inc., an entity registered to Kahn.
According to the complaints, Epstein and his employees had recruiters inform victims that Epstein “possessed extraordinary wealth, power, resources, and influence” and that “he was a philanthropist who would help female victims advance their education, careers, and lives” if they provided him with body massages.
Katlyn Doe says she was 17 in 2007 when she met Epstein through a female relative who worked for him. At the time, Katlyn was struggling with an eating disorder and additionally needed surgery for another serious medical condition, and Epstein promised to cure her and fund those expensive medical procedures.
But for the next several years, Epstein and his circle allegedly groomed Katlyn for sex—and even coerced her into marrying one of Epstein’s recruiters, who wasn’t a U.S. Citizen. Katlyn was allegedly sexually abused by Epstein at his New York mansion, in Florida while Epstein was on “work release,” and in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
When Katlyn turned 18, she says, Epstein forced her to lose her virginity to him during a trip to his private island, Little St. James. And in October 2008, while Epstein was on “work release” in Palm Beach, he had Katlyn send him sexually explicit photos of herself and of a female relative. (The Palm Beach Sheriff has opened a criminal probe into how deputies handled the financier’s “work release” stint, during which Epstein was supposedly working for his nonprofit, the Florida Science Foundation, according to Katlyn’s lawsuit.)
In 2009, Epstein allegedly flew Katlyn to Florida under the guise of working for his charity and coerced her into sexual encounters with him and, on one occasion, another young woman.
The complaint describes Epstein’s employees and associates as “disciples” who constantly warned Katlyn and other victims “of Jeffrey Epstein’s power and ability to improve or destroy a victim’s life depending on her level of cooperation.”
In 2013, when Katlyn urged Epstein to make good on his promises, he made another proposal—this time offering Katlyn $20,000 to marry one of his recruiters so the unnamed woman could stay in the country. Epstein also offered the married couple a place to live on E. 66th Street, where he’s provided housing for female employees.
Epstein paid Katlyn $10,000 after the marriage and said the second half would come once the couple split. Yet, after Katlyn’s divorce in 2017, Epstein failed to pay her or help secure her surgery, which she still needs today.
In her own lawsuit, Priscilla Doe says she was 22 in 2006 when she was recruited into Epstein’s alleged sex-trafficking operation in New York.
During Priscilla’s first visit to his mansion, Epstein offered her hundreds of dollars for a massage, which wasn’t sexual. Instead, Epstein asked Priscilla questions about her life, learning that she was a virgin, and that she was poor and wanted to financially support her mother.
The massages would quickly begin to include sex. “Jeffrey Epstein always reminded [Priscilla] that because of the money he was paying her for the commercial sex acts that he called ‘massage,’ she was able, for the first time, to pay for her mother’s rent and for her own groceries,” the complaint states.
Epstein forced himself on Priscilla during one encounter and “took her virginity against her will and wishes,” the lawsuit alleges.
According to the complaint, Priscilla went to Epstein’s private island and Ghislaine Maxwell and modeling mogul Jean-Luc Brunel joined this trip.
On the island, Maxwell trained her on how to sexually service Epstein and the “proper way to give a blow job,” court papers allege. Priscilla claims her passport was confiscated to stop her from leaving the island.
“Ghislaine Maxwell made it clear to [Priscilla] that it was very important for her to understand and take this instruction seriously,” the lawsuit says, adding that Maxwell’s orders “instilled genuine fear” in Priscilla, who believed “her failure to comply would cause her serious harm.”
Priscilla says that from 2006 to 2012, Epstein controlled virtually every aspect of her life including what she wore, her career path, and the food she ate. When Priscilla traveled to Montreal on her own, Epstein allegedly summoned her back, warning she wasn’t allowed to leave New York without his permission.
Priscilla engaged in sex acts with Epstein in Florida, too, while he was supposed to be on “work release,” the lawsuit states.
Epstein warned Priscilla not to tell anyone about him or their sexual activities, and he boasted close ties to powerful and influential people. “Jeffrey Epstein commonly bragged to [Priscilla] that Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, and the Sultan of Dubai were among his closest friends,” the complaint alleges.
In 2011, Epstein ordered Priscilla to attend massage school and regularly asked her to recruit students for him. To maintain Priscilla’s compliance, Epstein promised he would pay for her relative’s serious medical care, her lawsuit says.
Meanwhile, Lisa Doe was recruited by an Epstein associate outside her dance studio in 2002, when she was 17 years old. The recruiter approached Lisa—a dancer with a promising future— and offered her a job teaching “dance-based exercise” to a wealthy New Yorker.
Epstein allegedly told Lisa he was linked to many major dance companies and had personal friends in New York’s dance community. He said he’d buy high-end dancing attire for her and use his resources to advance her career.
Yet after Lisa taught Epstein ballet stretches, his recruiter called her and asked her to perform “massages” instead. Lisa continued to return to Epstein’s mansion, relying on his promises to help her career, and was routinely sexually abused, the lawsuit states.
Epstein and his associates warned Lisa “that if she remained loyal and obedient to him, he would provide her with the dance training and connections she needed to succeed, and, conversely, if she did not remain loyal and obedient to him he would prevent her from becoming a professional dancer,” the lawsuit states.
In her lawsuit, Lisa accuses Epstein of forcing her into sex acts with other women. He also demanded she recruit other dancers to do “massage” work for him.
As in Priscilla’s case, Epstein allegedly began to control every aspect of Lisa’s life and forced her to become a masseuse, albeit without a professional license. He made a $10,000 donation to one dance company on the condition that the organization use the money to pay Lisa for massage services for the company’s dancers, her complaint states.
Lisa says she was led to believe that if she didn’t have sex with Epstein, he would ruin her reputation in both the dance and massage communities.
Experts say it could take years for the secret beneficiaries of Epstein’s estate to be paid out, in large part because of the legal actions filed against it.
Bridget J. Crawford, a professor at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, told The Daily Beast last week that creditors and tax collectors could come forward seeking funds from the estate as victims file their complaints.
Epstein’s brother, Mark Epstein, is listed in the will as the sole relative “who would be entitled to share the estate if he had left no will.” According to Crawford, Mark is likely the only person who could challenge the validity of the document.
“Mark could come forward and say, ‘This is not a valid will, it was executed when he was not of right mind.’ There [could] be multiple possible grounds for doing so—fraud, undue influence, duress for example,” she said.
“I expect the court to be inundated with claims against the estate,” Crawford added. “This thing’s going to go on for years.”
Matthew R. Reinhardt, a lawyer in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, said “the complexity and character of the estate property usually determines how long the probate process will take.”
“Here, all of the estate property is given to a single entity … which serves to expedite the probate proceedings,” said Reinhardt, a partner at Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. “There is only one heir listed who would be entitled to share the estate if there had been no will.”
“However, if the validity of the will is questioned or the creditor’s claims are numerous or complex, the probate process may get lengthy.”