WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) — Jeffrey Epstein once partied with President Donald Trump and carried former President Bill Clinton in his private plane, but the self-proclaimed Palm Beach billionaire eventually faced accusations from underage girls of sexual wrongdoing.
On Tuesday, Epstein settled another lawsuit moments before a trial was to get underway.
The settlement means no civil trial, and no potentially embarrassing testimony from alleged underage victims.
But the attorneys opposing Epstein immediately outlined how they hope to help revive criminal prosecution against Epstein.
Tuesday’s settlement came in a legal back and forth between Epstein and Bradley Edwards, one of the victim attorneys who sued Epstein and won settlements.
Epstein sued Edwards alleging malicious prosecution, then dropped the suit. But Edwards counter-sued, the case that settled Tuesday.
Attorneys say law enforcement investigated claims from at least 39 young women, who said they were lured to Epstein’s Palm Beach estate while they were engaged in sex acts with them.
Federal prosecutors agreed to send the matters to state court.
There in 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to one count of solicitation of an underage girl for prostitution.
The plea deal gave Epstein an 18-month jail sentence.
Epstein ended up serving 13 months, and he spent much of that time on work release, in an office near his criminal defense attorney in downtown West Palm Beach.
“There is no precedent for a non-prosecution agreement like this,” said attorney Jack Scarola, who represented Edwards, the attorney who counter-sued Epstein in the just settled legal action.
Scarola announced he’s joining Edwards’ effort in federal court to get the federal non-prosecution agreement with Epstein thrown out.
“It was Jeffrey Epstein and his dream team of high powered, high-priced lawyers who insisted upon the secrecy provisions in violation of the Crime Victims Rights Act,” Scarola said.
Scarola explained that’s the basis to throw out the agreement and potentially explore new criminal charges at the federal level.
He believes a statute of limitations would not apply at the federal level.
Edwards said he expects more alleged victims to come forward now in light of renewed interest in the Epstein controversy.
“And it’s only very recently, as the climate is changing, that I’ve heard from some of these people that we recognized as witnesses a long time ago,” he said. “They’ve said, 'Look we’re really thinking about it now, because things have changed.' The focus is on the right person.”
Epstein’s attorneys declined comment after the hearing.