The 7-4 rule from the full bank of the 11thNS The US Court of Appeals described the government’s actions in the case as “shameful” but concluded that while the law gives victims the right to enter federal criminal proceedings, it does not allow them to sue, if never such case has been filed.
“The En-banc decision leaves the government free to negotiate secret non-indictment agreements without informing crime victims,” lawyers Paul Cassell, Brad Edwards and Jay Howell wrote in the files of the higher court.
Wild’s lawyers argue that the government is free to sideline victims if the judiciary fails to intervene in making similar non-prosecution agreements – or NPAs – with the aim of sensitive investigations.
“Given that the underlying legal issue is a practice the government wants to keep secret, this court may or may never have an opportunity to examine the question posed,” Wild’s lawyers wrote. “It was only because of unusual circumstances that Jeffrey Epstein’s NPA was revealed to the victims – and the public. In future cases, there is no guarantee that the government will disclose its secret NPAs, let alone disclose in a way that enables the kind of disputes by county and appeals courts that have arisen here. “
Aside from the legal issue, Wild’s petition is a test of whether the judges are interested or willing to dive into the tortuous and dirty Epstein saga.
Epstein, a wealthy investment manager who owned homes in Florida and Paris and owned a small island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, allegedly sexually abused more than 30 teenage girls over a period of more than a decade. Some of the girls were reportedly recruited by Epstein accomplices who searched high school parking lots for teenagers looking for easy cash in exchange for giving “massages” to an older man.
Epstein was scrutinized by federal and state prosecutors in the mid-2000s, and federal agencies eventually prepared a 53-page draft indictment against him in 2007. Epstein’s highly capable legal team – which also includes legal luminaries such as Kenneth. owned by Starr and Alan Dershowitz – managed to close a deal in which federal prosecutors agreed to waive any charges in exchange for Epstein pleading guilty to the two state crimes. Alleged victims were left in the dark or actively misled by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office in the course of the negotiations. Epstein only sat about 13 months in jail, enjoying daytime release and other lax terms.
Shortly after the fact of a federal deal with Epstein’s attorneys became known in 2008, attorneys for Wild and other victims went to court to try to overturn the state non-prosecution agreement. The case dragged on for over a decade. So long that after a series on the Miami Herald revived interest in the case, in July 2019, New York federal prosecutors were charged with sex trafficking against him.
Epstein was detained and sent to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to await trial. Authorities say he was found unresponsive in his cell in August 2019 after apparently hanging himself from a bunk bed. The death of the 66-year-old was rated as suicide.
After Epstein’s death, the judge handling Wild’s case said that Epstein’s death called the case into question as it could never be prosecuted. Wild’s lawyers appealed, but could not reverse the decision.
Federal prosecutors meanwhile said they would continue their investigation into those who helped Epstein, and last July they announced charges against Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, on charges of sex trafficking. She was also detained untied and is due to be tried in Manhattan in November.