Jeffrey Epstein’s Estate May Set Up a Program to Pay Accusers


Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s estate are considering setting up a program to resolve claims filed by women who say they were abused by the financier, who killed himself in August while facing federal sex trafficking charges.

The plan was disclosed in a court filing on Tuesday by a lawyer for one of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who is suing the estate in federal court in Manhattan. The filing said lawyers for Mr. Epstein’s estate had informed plaintiffs that they were planning to disclose details of a “claims resolution program” to a court in the United States Virgin Islands, where the mysteriously wealthy Mr. Epstein had his will filed shortly before his death.

The estate has retained Kenneth R. Feinberg, the noted lawyer who specializes in compensating victims, to set up the program, his team confirmed late Wednesday. His associates Camille Biros and Jordana Feldman have also been tapped, and Ms. Feldman will carry out the plan once it is set up and if it meets court approval. Ms. Biros has been an architect of programs to provide restitution to victims of the Catholic Church abuse scandal. Ms. Feldman most recently played a critical role in overseeing the administration of the September 11 Victims Compensation Fund.

But the proposal from lawyers for the estate, which is valued at about $577 million, was facing resistance earlier in the day.

Bradley Edwards, the lawyer for the accuser, said in the court filing that his client “does not believe that the use of any alternative dispute resolution should stay or modify the course of litigation in this matter.”

A lawyer for the estate wrote to one accuser’s lawyer and described the proposed program as “voluntary,” according to emails reviewed by The New York Times. Even so, the accuser’s lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, objected to the plan’s being put together without consulting with the accusers and their lawyers.

“Settlement, after all, is a two-way street,” Ms. Kaplan said in an emailed response, which was also sent to lawyers for other accusers. She said it was “astonishing” that the lawyers for Mr. Epstein’s estate planned to go to court in the Virgin Islands without first discussing the plan.

“In fact, it feels very much like a continuation of his crimes and abuse after his death,” she wrote.

The emails were later included in a public court filing on Wednesday afternoon.

David Brodie, another accuser’s lawyer, said that he was “cautiously optimistic” about the possible resolution program, but that there were many questions about how claims would be handled.

“These women have already endured horrific abuse at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein and have waited many years for justice,” he said. “To turn their personal experiences over to one person selected by Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to make a binding decision (which may not be disputed) could be a process that may exacerbate the victimization of these brave women.”

Bennet Moskowitz, the lawyer hired by Mr. Epstein’s estate to handle lawsuits by the accusers, did not respond to requests for comment on the emails or the proposed resolution program.

The executors of Mr. Epstein’s estate, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, also did not respond to a request for comment. Mr. Indyke was Mr. Epstein’s longtime lawyer in New York, and Mr. Kahn was an accountant for some of his companies.

In the weeks since Mr. Epstein’s death, lawsuits against the estate have been piling up.

On Tuesday, three new lawsuits were filed in Manhattan federal court by Mr. Epstein’s accusers, including separate lawsuits filed by two sisters — Annie Farmer and Maria Farmer.

Their lawyer, David Boies, said he anticipated filing lawsuits on behalf of at least one other woman, and called a settlement program “a positive step” toward resolving the claims. “But it is only the first step,” he added.

Until last month, Mr. Boies’s firm represented one of Mr. Epstein’s most outspoken accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, in a defamation lawsuit against the former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz. A federal judge disqualified the firm, saying its lawyers might have to appear as witnesses in the litigation.

Some accusers are taking advantage of a new law in New York that allows child victims of sexual abuse to file claims for damages many years later. Many of Mr. Epstein’s accusers said they were abused more than a decade ago.



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