In 2019, Manhattan federal prosecutors hailed their commitment to bringing Jeffrey Epstein to justice, announcing several sex trafficking charges against the financier for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.
“While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, the victims—then children and now young women—are no less entitled to their day in court. My Office is proud to stand up for these victims by bringing this indictment,” former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said on July 8, while announcing the indictment.
But according to a bombshell report by the New York Daily News, prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York sat down with lawyers for some of Epstein’s victims in 2016 and discussed the possibility of opening an investigation into the financier and Ghislaine Maxwell, his longtime confidante and alleged madam—but ultimately declined to pursue the case.
“We were saying to anyone who would listen: We’ve got clients who were abused. Some of them were underage. We have the evidence. There’s a whole record that’s been developed. We can establish beyond any reasonable doubt there was a massive sex trafficking ring going on,” David Boies, an attorney representing several Epstein victims, told the Daily News.
One month after Epstein, 66, was arrested by federal authorities in New York, he died by suicide in jail in August 2019. Maxwell, 58, was arrested on July 2 and is currently being held in a New York federal detention facility after being charged for alleging enticing minors, some as young as 14, to engage in illegal sex acts with Epstein in the mid-1990s.
According to the Daily News, several attorneys representing Epstein and Maxwell victims met with federal prosecutor Amanda Kramer on February 29, 2016, urging her to open a case against Epstein and Maxwell. Sources told the outlet the federal prosecutor had several questions, particularly about the 66-year-old’s controversial 2007 non-prosecution agreement in Florida.
Kramer was worried about how a new investigation would be impacted by the Florida agreement, under which the disgraced financier pleaded guilty in state court to soliciting prostitution and served just 13 months behind bars, the report states.
“This has already been looked at,” an individual recalls Kramer stating, according to the Daily News. “So what you’re really asking us to do is redo what the U.S. Attorney in Florida did?”
Kramer also reportedly asked the lawyers if they knew about cases in which Epstein abused underaged girls in New York specifically and about the statute of limitations for some of the financier’s crimes.
Boies did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
The attorneys reportedly had a second meeting with federal prosecutors over the summer of 2016 after Maxwell allegedly committed perjury during a deposition for another case—but their attempts to get an investigation going were moot. Another source, however, insisted to the Daily News that the second meeting did not take place.
“David was particularly frustrated by the failure to pursue a perjury charge,” a source familiar with the meetings said. According to the Daily News, Boies later told his colleagues, “We have her dead to rights.”
Prosecutors ultimately used this allegation that Maxwel lied under oath during a deposition in an ongoing case with Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre as part of their criminal charges against the British socialist in July.
Maxwell’s lawyers will appear before a New York federal appeals judge on Tuesday in an attempt to keep the April 2016 deposition sealed.
One source said that after the Miami Herald’s bombshell investigation into Epstein in 2018, federal prosecutors in Manhattan finally examined the breadth of evidence against the financier and raises questions about why former U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta agreed to the sweetheart deal.
“You just presume that major, significant, well-respected US Aattorney offices don’t fuck this up,” the source, who is close with the Southern District of New York, said. “It obviously seems very tragic in hindsight. But if people [reopened] our cases we’d lose our minds.”
Kramer did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment. Nicholas Biase, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told The Daily Beast on Tuesday the office is “declining to comment” on the allegations.