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Epstein's Accusers Plan To Pursue Legal Options

Aug 12, 2019
Originally published on August 12, 2019 11:39 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And let's talk about this more with one of the lawyers for some of Epstein's alleged victims and talk about what may happen next. Paul Cassell is representing four women in federal court in Florida and joins me this morning. Welcome to the program.

PAUL CASSELL: Thank you. Glad to be here.

GREENE: So you just heard my colleague Ryan Lucas laying out some of the options. Talk to me about specifically your clients and where you plan to go from here after what took place over the weekend.

CASSELL: Well, yes, we've been working for 11 years in the southern district of Florida to try to invalidate the nonprosecution agreement that exists there that prevented Epstein's prosecution and also the prosecution of potential co-conspirators. Obviously, with Epstein's death, there's no longer the possibility of a criminal prosecution in federal court in Florida, but there remains the possibility of prosecution of those who enabled Epstein's crimes, and so that action will continue to move forward.

GREENE: You mentioned the nonprosecution agreement, that this was part of the plea deal, like, a decade ago that a lot of people have heard about. A lot of people thought it was incredibly lenient, where Epstein was allowed to leave for work five days a week. You're saying that agreement might make it hard for you to go after his alleged co-conspirators. Why is that?

CASSELL: Well, let's remember - about six months ago, a federal judge found that that nonprosecution agreement was illegal. It was kept secret from the victims, in violation of their rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act, and so the judge has ordered briefing on what the appropriate remedy is for that violation.

We've filed court papers in Florida saying that the remedy should be rescission of the nonprosecution agreement and particularly rescission of the provisions that give immunity to Epstein and his potential co-conspirators. And so that issue is pending in front of the judge. And if the judge were to agree with our arguments, that would end the immunity provisions and make it possible to - for the victims to confer with federal prosecutors in Florida to try to get federal prosecution there in Florida.

Now, of course we need to remember that prosecutors in New York are also moving forward. They had charges only against Jeffrey Epstein, but they had filed conspiracy charges, which meant that they're looking at other people as possible targets in New York as well. And so I would assume that that criminal investigation would continue to move forward also.

GREENE: Do you know who the co-conspirators are, who Epstein's co-conspirators were...

CASSELL: Well, that...

GREENE: ...And who you would go after here?

CASSELL: Well, there are four people who were identified in the nonprosecution agreement in Florida as potential co-conspirators. So those would obviously be some people that I would assume law enforcement is looking at. But the main point of victims is that federal law enforcement has tools available both in Florida and New York and elsewhere to identify all those who helped to enable Epstein to commit his crimes, and that I think now becomes the focus with Epstein's death.

GREENE: Can you tell me what kind of position your clients are in after this weekend and what this means for their pursuit of justice?

CASSELL: Well, let's remember - there are multiple victims, and they have multiple views, multiple thoughts. But I think, generally, victims believe that the criminal justice process should have moved forward in the ordinary way. And what we've seen here is Epstein essentially once again taking a way out that maybe wasn't available to other people that weren't given the same kind of privileges or same kind of treatment.

And so I think there's generally disappointment that the ordinary process isn't going to move forward here, that there isn't going to be a public trial, there isn't going to be a public airing of exactly what the crimes were and what exactly Epstein and his enablers did.

GREENE: I want to be really, really careful here because we don't know all the facts, but sounds like you're alleging that he was given a, quote, "way out" because of circumstances that may have been created to allow him to do that other people in prison might not have had?

CASSELL: Well, I think we're still waiting to get all the facts. I wouldn't want to speculate until we have more information from the prison authorities. But it does seem like Epstein was able to meet with his lawyers for extended periods of time, more so than other prisoners in that facility were allowed to do. And so I think everything needs to be investigated here. And Epstein seems to have gotten favorable treatment at a variety of points in the process. I think whether that is something that happened here as well needs to be investigated.

GREENE: All right. Paul Cassell is an attorney for four of the women suing Jeffrey Epstein. He's also a distinguished professor of law at the University of Utah. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

CASSELL: Glad to be here. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.