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Judge schedules hearing for Jeffrey Epstein victims to speak

Judge Richard Berman invited victims and attorneys for the victims to a hearing next Tuesday and said they could speak if they wished.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein Appears In Manhattan Federal Court On Sex Trafficking Charges
A protester holds a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the Federal courthouse in New York on July 8, 2019.Stephanie Keith / Getty Images file

A federal judge has ruled that the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein will stay open until his victims have an opportunity to make statements in open court at a hearing next Tuesday.

Earlier this week, prosecutors had asked the judge to close their sex-trafficking case against the financier and registered sex offender, in light of his death by suicide on Aug. 10.

In a court filing Wednesday, Judge Richard Berman scheduled a public hearing for 10:30 a.m., Aug. 27, and asked that the prosecutors and Epstein's attorneys be present. He invited victims and attorneys for the victims to the hearing and said they could speak if they wished.

Click here to see Berman's ruling

"The public may still have an informational interest in the process by which the prosecutor seeks dismissal of an indictment," said Berman.

Epstein was arrested July 6 on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. Prosecutors say he sexually abused dozens of underage girls at his homes in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. Epstein was also accused of paying his victims to recruit others, allowing him to build a vast network of girls to exploit.

His lawyers asked a judge to allow him to await trial under house arrest at his Manhattan mansion, but the request was denied. Weeks later, Epstein died by suicide while being held in a special housing unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to the medical examiner's report released Friday.

Epstein executed a new will just two days before he was found dead in his New York City jail cell this month, according to probate documents obtained by NBC News. Three civil lawsuits alleging new charges of how he recruited and used young girls were filed on Tuesday.