A federal judge in New York formally ended the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein, the Jewish financier who authorities say killed himself while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
Judge Richard Berman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York shelved the indictment on Thursday charging Epstein, 66, with sex crimes in the early 2000s in Florida and New York.
During the session, Berman included a reference to a court hearing two days earlier at which 16 women spoke about their claims against Epstein of sexual abuse, some allegedly committed when they were under the age of consent. Statements by several other women were read by their lawyers.
The judge said he was incorporating by reference the hearing’s transcript while he “underscores the significance of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.” Among other things, the victims’ law ensures crime victims have the right to be heard at public court proceedings regarding the accused.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has promised the Justice Department will pursue those who enabled Epstein to carry out the sexual assaults.
Epstein was arrested last month. He had pleaded not guilty.
In requesting the shelving of the indictment 10 days earlier, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, who is not related to the judge, said the law required the dismissal after Epstein killed himself in jail on Aug. 10, The Associated Press reported.