What's Next For Prosecutors In Epstein Case
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And, of course, victims of Jeffrey Epstein and their families were shocked to learn of his death. Jena-Lisa Jones, who says she was molested by him when she was just 14, told the Miami Herald's Julie K. Brown that she had finally felt there might be justice. Now, that's not so clear. Joining me is Laurie Levenson. She's a former federal prosecutor and professor at Loyola Law School. Good morning.
LAURIE LEVENSON: Good morning to you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what recourse is there for the accusers?
LEVENSON: Well, right now, the criminal case is over, at least against Jeffrey Epstein. So the recourse is through the civil cases, the lawsuits against his estate, whether the estate is going to fight those lawsuits, what's going to happen, we don't know. There are also a couple of other defamation cases going on that might reveal more of what happened in this situation.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Southern District of New York yesterday put out a statement asking for more victims to come forward. Might his death actually open the door for more people to feel like they can come forward now without fear and possibly that might open the door to more civil cases being brought against his estate?
LEVENSON: Yes. In fact, this death might open the door for more victims to come forward in a couple of ways. There could be victims out there who want their story told, but they were not comfortable testifying in a criminal case against him. And then there are additional victims who are saying the only way there's going to be justice is to really show the scope of this conspiracy and will come forward and perhaps will bring our civil actions as well.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The original indictment talked about a conspiracy. Does that mean that there are more people who can be charged?
LEVENSON: Possibly. The prosecutors have said that they're continuing to investigate. Now, they didn't bring charges against any of the co-conspirators when they did charge Epstein, so I'm not sure how likely it will be. But there's a lot of pressure on them now given that Epstein's gone to find out who else was involved and whether they can be criminally charged.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And will that evidence collected by the Southern District of New York ever be seen?
LEVENSON: I don't know that all of it will be seen. Some of the evidence went to the grand jury, and in order for that to be revealed, you'd have to go to the judge and show a particularized need for disclosure. There's also some FBI reports and other types of evidence and possibly Freedom of Information Act requests - we'll get that. But I don't think you're going to see everything that the prosecutors accumulated and might have presented in the criminal case.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Because now there's going to be a bunch of different investigations into the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's death, might that reveal some information that otherwise would have been hidden?
LEVENSON: Well, that's a possibility because as they look at people, there's all sorts of conspiracy theories already floating out there. And as they start investigating who might have had an interest, who had a motive, might that information come out? It could. But we don't know yet. And many questions still may not be answered. I think for the victims, this is going to be hard because they're never going to see Jeffrey Epstein in court, get what they think is due to him. But I think more of the information still could come out.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: As you mentioned, there have been a lot of conspiracy theories about Epstein's death. And people are angry. And and I'm wondering, do you share that feeling?
LEVENSON: Oh, I'm totally shocked. As a former federal prosecutor, I actually have no idea how this would happen, especially when you have an inmate who showed a prior, you know, suggestion that he might kill himself, and he's so high profile. How did this happen? It's worthy of an investigation.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Laurie Levenson, former federal prosecutor. Thank you so much for joining us.
LEVENSON: My pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.