Jeffrey Epstein's criminal case formally closed, other investigations continue

The criminal case's end does not affect any civil claims brought against Epstein's estate or the investigation into circumstances surrounding his death.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein Appears In Manhattan Federal Court On Sex Trafficking Charges
Protesters hold up signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse July 8, 2019, in New York City.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images file

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By Tom Winter and Adiel Kaplan

A federal judge formally closed the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday.

Prosecutors previously asked Judge Richard Berman to end the sex trafficking case since Epstein died by suicide earlier this month.

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Dismissing an indictment against a deceased individual is typically a formality, but Berman took the unusual step to first schedule a hearing in which he invited alleged victims and their lawyers to speak.

On Tuesday, 23 victims testified about the alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein.

His suicide "robbed" his victims of the chance "to confront him one by one" in court, Courtney Wild, the first accuser to speak at the hearing, said. "For that, he is a coward."

Wild said Epstein sexually abused her for years.

After Tuesday's hearing, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, and the FBI met with some of the women, thanking them for their bravery and emphasizing that the criminal investigation into the accused sex trafficker's potential enablers is ongoing, according to four people with knowledge of the meeting.

The end of the criminal case does not affect any civil claims brought by victims against Epstein's estate, or the federal grand jury investigation into circumstances surrounding his death in the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10.