How convenient. A meticulous and in-depth investigative effort by the Miami Herald raised questions last week about just how Jeffrey Epstein managed to avoid serious prison time, which set the stage for a lawsuit … brought by Epstein himself against an attorney representing his victims. Just before a jury was to have been seated, however, the wealthy financier has pulled out of the lawsuit that would have further exposed his crimes — and that of his friends:

A last-minute settlement has been reached in Florida in a long-running lawsuit involving a politically-connected financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls.

The deal came Tuesday just before jury selection was to begin, and for now, it means none of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein will be able to testify. …

A lawyer for Epstein read an apology from him to attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents some victims. Edwards claimed Epstein tried to damage his reputation by suing him.

That will bring a sigh of relief to more people than just Epstein. The Washington Post offered this curtain-raiser on the lawsuit last night, noting that two presidents might well have come up in the testimony from young women who may have been underage at the time of Epstein’s crimes:

President Trump won’t be testifying, though lawyers in the case tried to depose him. President Bill Clinton won’t be there either, though he, like Trump, was an occasional guest of the man at the center of the trial, billionaire sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein.

Don’t expect to find Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta in the courtroom in West Palm Beach, Fla., though his decision not to prosecute Epstein was a milestone in the twisting path toward the courtroom showdown that is finally supposed to begin Tuesday after nearly nine years of byzantine bickering.

Of course,  the really fun part is that Epstein was the plaintiff in this lawsuit. The Post suggests that Epstein wanted to get ahead of victims’ lawsuits by going after their attorney:

The ostensible focus of the trial is whether lawyers representing alleged victims of Epstein’s decades-long obsession with underage girls ginned up accusations of sexual molestation as part of an illegal scheme to lure investors.

But for Epstein, the trial is a chance to push back against and perhaps punish Bradley Edwards, the Florida lawyer who has represented several young women who say Epstein paid them for sex when they were teenagers.

“Epstein’s lawsuit is nothing but a blatant attempt to scare Brad off,” Edwards’s attorney, Jack Scarola, told The Washington Post on Monday. “Brad has spent a decade working to assure that Epstein will face appropriate criminal prosecution.”

So Epstein sued Edwards to scare him off … and now he’s the one apologizing today. Hmmm. I guess Epstein finally decided that he didn’t want to give “a rare opportunity for dozens of women … to make public their accounts of how they say Epstein abused them,” as the Post describes it.

It’s not the first time Epstein has settled a lawsuit over the sexual abuse claims. He paid three accusers $5.5 million a few years back, which got revealed in October of last year:

Ending years of speculation about how much Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein paid young women who claimed he used them as sex toys, court documents filed last week show he shelled out $5.5 million to settle lawsuits with three of more than two dozen teens who sued him.

Responding to requests from Epstein’s attorneys in a complex lawsuit that was spawned by the sex scandal, attorney Bradley Edwards said the politically-connected 64-year-old convicted sex offender paid more than $1 million to each of the three women Edwards represented.

Identified in court papers only by their initials or pseudonyms because of the nature of the allegations and their youthful ages, L.M. was paid $1 million, E.W. $2 million and Jane Doe $2.5 million, Edwards said of the settlements he negotiated with Epstein to end the lawsuits.

That also came out because of discovery on this lawsuit. Epstein’s lawyers were attempting to prove that his former law partner Scott Rothstein was behind the accusations by the women, part of Rothstein’s attempts to cover up a ponzi scheme which put him in prison for 50 years. Discovery cuts both ways in civil lawsuits, although hardly anything about this has been civil at all, and Edwards wasn’t just some disinterested observer:

One of the high-profile people Rothstein used to lure investors was Epstein, according to a lawsuit West Palm Beach attorney Robert Critton filed on Epstein’s behalf. According to the lawsuit, Rothstein told investors Epstein, a money manager, had agreed to settle the lawsuits with the teens for $200 million — a claim Critton described as “a complete fabrication.”

After Epstein dropped the lawsuit in 2012, Edwards turned the tables on him. Edwards accused Epstein of filing the lawsuit maliciously to punish him for representing the young women. Although Edwards was a partner in Rothstein’s now defunct firm, Scarola claims Epstein had no evidence Edwards was involved in the Ponzi scheme. Federal prosecutors successfully charged other attorneys and members of the firm, but Edwards was never implicated, Scarola said in the malicious prosecution lawsuit.

In other words, there’s been a lot of bad blood between these two attorneys for a long time. Epstein must have thought that he could bluff Edwards, or maybe he even thought he had a winning hand … until the Miami Herald made it clear just how badly this was going to play in front of a jury. And not just for Epstein either, but for a lot of other people whom Epstein courted with his sexcapades.

Cui bono isn’t a bad question to ask now. It’s a question Epstein should have asked before filing this lawsuit in the first place.