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SDNY Judge Berman Drops Case Against Epstein Incorporating Victims' Words Silent On Death Probe

By Matthew Russell Lee, Scoop Patreon, thread

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 29 – Two days after more than 20 victims of Jeffrey Epstein testified, in person and by letter, about rape in his Manhattan mansion and New Mexico ranch in a public hearing before U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman, on August 29 Judge Berman signed off on dropped the prosecution of the decedent, Epstein.

The order did not mention Epstein's (former) lawyers' request that Berman play a role in investigating how Epstein died. In the docket there is only this:  NOLLE PROSEQUI ENTERED as to Jeffrey Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein (1) Count 1,2. Accordingly, I recommend that an order of nolle prosequi be filed as to defendant Jeffrey Epstein. (Signed by Judge Richard M. Berman on 8/29/19)(jw) The Court incorporates by reference the transcript of the hearing held on 8 /27 /19 in its entirety and underscores the significants of the Crime Victims Rights Act,18 u.s.c. § 3771." We'll have more on this.

  In SDNY special courtroom 110, Judge Berman began by questioning a New York Law Journal op-ed questioning why he was holding the hearing. Judge Berman noted that one of the authors is now involved in the case, later specified to be as a lawyer for Alan Dershowitz.

 With US Attorney for the SDNY Geoffrey Berman in the front row, Assistant US Attorney Maureen Comey argued for the case to be dropped.

 Epstein's lawyer Reid Weingarten and his co-counsel called for an investigation of how Epstein died, with Judge Berman playing a role. AUSA Comey replied that there can be no role for Judge Berman, that there is a grand jury investigating it.

   First up was lawyer Brad Edward and his clients, led by Courtney Wild, who said justice was never served in this case. Then Jane Doe 1 said that Epstein is a "complex villain... We do need to know how he died."

Jane Doe 2 said she had been in extreme poverty and "I didn't even know I was a victim" for some time. Jane Doe 3 said she had come to New York City 15 years ago, was assaulted in Epstein's mansion and left New York after five months. Jane Doe 4 said Epstein "took away the future I envisioned as a young girl."

Jane Doe 5 said Epstein said investigators to her house, adding that she had grown up in middle class circumstances and was still victimized.

Chauntae Davis specifically named Ghislaine Maxwell, who used the United Nations press briefing room to promote herself.

Anouska De Giou said that the loss of trust is not recoverable, adding "I am relieved that Jeffrey Epstein is not in the position to hurt more women or children."

  Then Britney Henderson read the statement of Michelle Licata, that she had been in high school; she thanked the SDNY prosecutors as being "completely different" from those in Florida. Utah Judge and now professor Paul Cassell urgered Judge Berman to publish his opening remarks, as a needed precedent under the Crime Victims Rights Act. But is an opening statement a precedent?

  David Boies went big picture, that the purpose of criminal law is increasing not only to punish but to mitigate damage to victims. His partner Sigrid McCawley introduced victim Ms. Helm who also named Ghislaine Maxwell.

Virginia Roberts Giuffre said, in a reversal of how the phrase is usually used, "This is not about how Jeffrey Epstein lived, but about how he lived." Sarah Rasome urged the SDNY prosecutors to "finish what you've started."

Annie Farmer spoke for her sister Marie, as she had to Epstein's bail hearing, now angry at what was allowed to happen while Epstein was in government custody. A victim named Marije recounted how she was told that Epstein liked blondes and would offer 15 minutes buy all you can Channel visits.

Lawyer Kimberly Lerner said that Epstein was a "predator, a pedophile and a sick individual." Her client Jennifer Rose said she was abused by Epstein at 14, and urged prosecution of his enablers and co-conspirators.

Terri Gibbs who works for Lisa Bloom read in the statements of Jane Does 6, 7 and 8, the latter two referring to recruiting agents and saying, God bless the victims.

Gloria Allred brought forward three victims, two of whom took the podium and spoke. The first, Teala Davis, referred to "predators in power." The second, speaking as Jane Doe 10, recounted being on Epstein's ranch and crashing at ATV. She was told, No one gets in trouble for anything here.

Jane Doe 11, as read into the record by Gloria Allred while it seemed sitting behind her in the courtroom, was perhaps the sharpest speaker. She was a 16 year old virgin. She quoted Epstein, "I'll bury you... I own this f*cking town." She chose not to apply to Harvard after Epstein bragged about his influence there, how he knew the University's president.

Finally Jane Doe 12, again read into the record by Allred, said Epstein bragged of knowing Bill Clinton and was promoted as the owner of Victoria Secret. Well, he did invest the money of that Columbus, Ohio based owner, on which Inner City Press will have more, as it will on Judge Berman's order, whenever he issues it.

Epstein's suicide came eleven days after Inner City Press exclusively removed irregularities at the MCC including Epstein then being allowed to use without supervision all day, every day one of the only two legal visit rooms for prisons in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Other defense lawyers exclusively complained to Inner City Press about not being able to see on a timely basis their clients in the MCC. Now what will be done about the MCC's (lack of) supervision, including by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Richard M. Berman?

   Epstein had shifts of lawyers purporting to meet with him all day, in a room where the other Criminal Justice Act lawyers said Epstein had access to the Internet. The CJA lawyers had to wait up to four hours to see their clients.

  "It's outrageous," one of the lawyers told Inner City Press. "El Chapo is the only other one who tried this, but he was in a special unit so it didn't impact the rest of us." More on Patreon here.

  Other child sex defendants have conditions that they cannot use the Internet. They are also supervised, especially but not only when on suicide watch. But with Epstein paying lawyers to meet with him all day in the MCC, he was allowed to use the 'Net and presumably more.

At a July 31 status conference his neck did not come up, only the scheduling of now unnecessary discovery and motions and a tentative trial date: June 8, 2020 at 9 am.

 Judge Berman asked the two sides to agree on timing and they mostly did - except that Epstein's lawyers said they preferred a September 2020 trial date. The government said there was a public interest in moving more quickly and that agreeing to June was already a compromise for them. So Berman penciled in June and excluded time under the Speedy Trial Act until them. Now what will he do, about the suicide and the questions it raises?

  The government said all discovery would be provided by October 31 except for some material from devices seized in New York being evaluated by the FBI. A first round of defense motions were due September 13, for oral argument on October 28 at 10 am.

 Substantive motions were due January 10 from the defense, February 10 from the government and replies February 24; oral argument on these will be on March 12. And then, it was said, the June 8 trial. Now no more.

  Epstein's lawyers in asking for September said they wanted to assess if Epstein could exercise his Constitutional rights - all of them, it now seems, including a natural law right to self erasure - while in the MCC. They were implying that Epstein could not work on his defense while in the MCC. Many people do it. But Jeffrey Epstein... is Jeffrey Epstein, rather like UNSG Antonio Guterres is Antonio Guterres. Inner City Press will stay on this and other cases in the SDNY.

 Meanwhile the SDNY prosecutors more quietly cut a cooperation agreement with another child sex trafficking Anthony Darby.

   Inner City Press had gone to the SDNY courtroom of Judge Paul Engelmayer to cover another matter. But inside the courtroom a shackled man was pleading guilty. The courtroom deputy came over to say this was not the case Inner City Press had come to cover. But Inner City Press stayed to cover it. Soon Assistant US Attorney Wolf requested a sidebar with Judge Engelmayer.

  The reason quickly became clear. Darby was pleading guilty to 14 counts, sex trafficking of minor and conspiracy, in exchange for cooperation he would get a 5K1.1 letter - in April 2020. Judge Engelmayer to his credit, unlike at least two other SDNY Judges, did not lawlessly order the Press to leave. And for that reason for now Inner City Press is reporting only these bare bones facts: that amid criticism of the Jeffrey Epstein non prosecution agreement, this Darby deal is taking place in the SDNY. Is it a good deal? We'll have more on this.


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