Aug 10, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein's accusers respond to his death

Protestors hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of a New York City Federal courthouse on July 8. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein died on Saturday in an apparent suicide, a day after unsealed documents from a 2015 defamation lawsuit detailed what Epstein’s accusers describe as his sex-trafficking operation, and a month after being charged with sex trafficking underage girls.

What's next: The criminal case against Epstein ends with his death, but accusers' lawyers are still seeking justice for their clients. One lawyer for Epstein's accusers, civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, on Saturday called for the administrators of Epstein’s estate to "freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases."

Accusers' statements:

"I will never have a sense of closure now. I'm angry as hell that the prison could have allowed this to happen and that I and his other victims will never see him face the consequences for his horrendous actions. I hope that whoever allowed this to happen, also faces some type of consequence. You stole from us, the huge piece of healing that we needed to move on with our lives."
One of attorney Lisa Bloom's clients in Epstein's sex trafficking case
"I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won't have to face his survivors of his abuse in court. We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims."
— Jennifer Araoz, one of Epstein's accusers, who said she was sexually assaulted by him in 2002, when she was 15

Lawyers' statements, on behalf of their clients, Epstein's accusers:

“I guess there is somewhat an element of relief because the fear of him getting out is obviously over, but there is also, they’ll never be able to look into his eye and say, ‘You hurt me,’ there’s that element of closure that he’s taken away from them.”
— Attorney Kimberly Lerner, who represents one of Epstein’s accusers
“The reckoning of accountability begun by the voices of brave and truthful victims should not end with Jeffrey Epstein’s cowardly and shameful suicide. The fact that Epstein took his own life within 24 hours of the unsealing of detailed and devastating documents and exhibits in Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, which informed the public of the scope, scale and sophistication of the international sex trafficking operation Epstein conducted, is no coincidence."
— Attorney Sigrid McCawley, who represents Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre
Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.
— Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two Epstein accusers, on Twitter.
“The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled is both unfortunate and predictable. ... The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused. We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice. It is never too late to come forward with information.”
— Attorney Brad Edwards, who represents several Epstein accusers

Go deeper: Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide

Go deeper

Virginia governor announces removal of Richmond's Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.