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Disgraced financier Jeffery Epstein signed will days before suicide

World Tuesday 20/August/2019 14:02 PM
By: Times News Service
Disgraced financier Jeffery Epstein signed will days before suicide

New York City: Suspected serial offender Jeffery Epstein is said to have signed a will just two days before he killed himself in jail, new court records show, opening a new legal front in what could be a lengthy battle over the disgraced financier’s fortune.

Court papers filed last week in the US Virgin Islands list no details of beneficiaries but value the estate at more than $577 million, including more than $56 million in cash.

The existence of the will, first reported by an American newspaper, raised new questions about Epstein’s final days inside the Metropolitan correctional centre, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Epstein signed the document 8 August. Less than 48 hours later, he was found dead in his cell, prompting an investigation that has cast a harsh light on staffing shortages at the Manhattan detention centre.

Prosecutors on Monday moved to dismiss the indictment against Epstein but have said they are considering charging others with facilitating his alleged abuse of dozens of girls.

The filing of the will, meanwhile, had been closely followed by lawyers representing women who claim they were sexually abused by Epstein when they were teenagers. One woman filed suit against the estate last week, claiming Epstein repeatedly raped her when she was a teenager. Several attorneys vowed to go after his assets even if the will had named beneficiaries, as Epstein’s death means there will be no trial on the criminal charges against him.

“Give his entire estate to his victims. It is the only justice they can get,” one of those lawyers, Lisa Bloom, wrote in an email. “And they deserve it. And on behalf of the Epstein victims I represent, I intend to fight for it.”

David S Weinstein, a former federal prosecutor not involved in the Epstein case, said states and US territories had certain timeframes within which to make a claim against someone’s estate.

“There are certainly going to be a lot of lawyers involved,” Weinstein said. “It’s not going to be over any time soon.”