Criminal case against late Jeffrey Epstein quashed

New York, Aug 30 (IANS) A New York federal judge has dismissed the sex-trafficking case against disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein due to his death behind bars, which has been ruled a suicide.

US District Judge Richard Berman's action on Thursday was a formality, but he put off the dismissal for several days to allow some of Epstein's accusers the chance to tell their stories in court, reports Efe news.

And while the alleged victims were the focus of Tuesday's hearing, Berman also acknowledged the doubts Epstein's attorneys voiced about the circumstances of their client's death.

One of the defence lawyers, Martin Weinberg, told the media on Thursday that he and his colleagues did not view the dismissal as closing the door on their request that the judge look into what happened to Epstein at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal detention facility in Manhattan.

On August 10, the 66-year-old Epstein was found hanged inside his cell at the MCC, where the multi-millionaire hedge fund manager had been held since his July 6 arrest.

New York City's chief medical examiner ruled six days later that the death was a suicide.

Epstein's attorneys, however, said in court Tuesday that an expert they consulted found the fatal injuries were "more consistent ... with homicide" than suicide.

Epstein, who was known for friendships with high-profile figures such as US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, Britain's Prince Andrew and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

The nature of the charges against Epstein and his connections to prominent people gave rise to suspicions about the circumstances of his death.

--IANS

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