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Jeffrey Epstein victims ask judge to clear way for new federal charges in Florida

Posted at 5:13 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 19:49:39-04

Women who say they were sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein as minors are asking a federal judge to clear the way for possible new charges in Florida.

In a document filed Tuesday, attorneys for the sexual abuse victims asked US District Judge Kenneth Marra to void a secret non-prosecution agreement that prevented Epstein and his co-conspirators from being charged with federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida.

In February, Judge Marra ruled that a non-prosecution agreement negotiated between US Attorneys in Miami, and Epstein's lawyers, violated the Federal Crime Victims' Rights Act because the underage victims were not notified it was happening.

“The government and Epstein reached a secret non-prosecution agreement and then concealed that agreement until it was firmly in place, and the victims lost any opportunity to object. This secret justice for Epstein and his co-conspirators has led to a national outcry about unfairness and unequal treatment of the wealthy and powerful in the criminal justice system," said victims' attorney Brad Edwards in the filing.

He says voiding the secret agreement altogether would give the women opportunity to press for new federal sex charges against Epstein and any co-conspirators, and argued it's just one of several remedies the court can provide to the victims.

Edwards says: "It is precisely because the non-prosecution agreement was clandestine, that this court must now rescind its immunity provisions. It was never the intention of the victims to extend immunity to Epstein," adding that "the case as presented to this court, now boils down to either upholding an illegal agreement or partially rescinding it. "

On Wednesday, Epstein's attorneys asked for more time to reply to this new filing, seeking a late August date, in part because of Epstein's current incarceration. Epstein opposes any move to reopen the 2007 agreement.

In response to Epstein's arguments, Edwards says, "once the immunity provisions have been rescinded, the victims would confer with the US Attorney's Office of the Southern District of Florida, and then the prosecutors would be free to proceed as they saw fit."

Epstein was arrested July 6 in New York, and is being held on federal sex trafficking charges there.

Prosecutors in New York said Epstein paid underage girls, some as young as 14-years-old, hundreds of dollars in cash for massages, then molested them at his homes in Palm Beach and New York between 2002 and 2005.

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