Maybe not, but they haven’t advanced it much either, according to ABC News. Despite having enough to arrest Jeffrey Epstein on new charges last summer and keep him locked up, his suicide hasn’t pushed the probe much further toward his alleged co-conspirators. Sources within the Department of Justice told ABC that they have begun to focus on Epstein’s alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell, although that’s not exactly news either:
The federal authorities who arrested financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein earlier this year are now investigating British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell and others — linked to Epstein — to determine whether any other crimes were committed in conjunction with the financier’s sex trafficking charges, according to a source briefed on the case.
The main focus of the ongoing probe is whether other people facilitated Epstein’s criminal conduct or conspired with him. The authorities will also need to determine whether any conduct — even if provable — violated U.S. federal law to the point charges could be brought.
ABC dug that out of their DoJ sources after Reuters scooped them yesterday on the, er … news that they’re still investigating Maxwell et al. Not to be a skeptic of their enthusiasm for this investigation, but hasn’t the DoJ and FBI been pursuing this angle since before Epstein killed himself? (Don’t @ me, bros.) No lesser figure than Attorney General William Barr warned Epstein’s co-conspirators back in August that they “should not rest easy.” Two weeks earlier, federal prosecutors had announced that they would investigate the people around Epstein to ensure that they rounded up everyone who facilitated his sexual predation of underaged girls. Maxwell’s been the very public top suspect for being Epstein’s pimp for months now.
So is this to tell us that they’re still investigating Epstein’s Pervert Squad, or that they have begun a new effort? Based on the language used in both news reports, it sounds either like the investigation stalled out or that the feds are only now getting around to it. Neither conclusion exactly instills confidence in the DoJ. The same can be said about the only news in this latest highlighting of a lack of progress, in which we find out who’s getting off the hook rather than on it:
The sources declined to give further details or identify the people they are looking at apart from Maxwell. However, they said the FBI has no current plans to interview Britain’s Prince Andrew, a friend of Epstein’s who stepped down from his public duties in November because of what he called his “ill-judged” association with the well-connected money manager. …
The two law enforcement sources said the FBI’s principal focus is on people who facilitated Epstein and that Andrew does not fit into that category. They did not rule out the possibility that the FBI would seek to interview Andrew at a later date.
Well, isn’t that nice for the royal family! Maybe the Queen will let Andrew back into Buckingham Palace for Easter.
Reuters notes that the FBI and DoJ have been getting “numerous” tips from their special hotline for the Epstein case, and that they are trying to run them all down. Perhaps they should just spend their time hanging out in federal court. Another potential victim/witness filed a lawsuit against the Epstein estate yesterday, calling herself “Anastasia Doe” and alleging that Epstein abused her from age 14 onward:
The woman — who filed the Manhattan Federal lawsuit anonymously under the name Anastasia Doe — claims from 2003 through 2006 she was sexually abused and eventually raped by the financier in his East 71st Street mansion.
Anastasia, now 30, says in 2003 she was recruited by her underage friend who told her she could get $300 to give a massage “to a rich man in Manhattan,” according to the court papers filed Friday.
When she and the friend arrived, Epstein was laying face down on a massage table where he allegedly told the girls to get naked. He then began touching Anastasia’s private parts and abused her with a sex toy, the suit says.
She was paid $300 and left her phone number at the house. Over the next three years she was “contacted regularly” to schedule weekly meetings with the dead pedophile, the court papers say.
Things began to escalate when Epstein forced his girlfriend to give the alleged victim oral sex when she was 15-years-old, the court documents claim. The lawsuit did not specify who the girlfriend was.
Who might that be? That mystery girlfriend could be a number of women, as a 15-year-old might not have a clear grasp of the relationships around Epstein. The lawsuit does explain that Epstein and his inner circle turned his victims into procurers as well, getting them to find girls they knew to provide Epstein with even more victims, so that could have been one of Doe’s predecessors in that process. Of all his inner circle, though, Maxwell was the one with the closest personal relationship, having been at least at one time Epstein’s girlfriend. This testimony certainly seems to be on point for a search to find Epstein’s enablers and conspirators.
And it’s not like this is a big surprise, either. Doe joins more than two dozen other women who have filed claims against the Epstein estate and its executors for damages related to sexual abuse and trafficking. One might think that those civil cases would be a gold mine for investigators looking to connect dots from Epstein to others in his employ and his circle of friends in comparison to a tips line, along with whatever pictures and video they’ve managed to recover from Epstein’s residences.
These news reports don’t sound like progress. They sound more like a status report from a stalled investigation, one perhaps that lacks investigative enthusiasm. Ghislaine Maxwell might not be “resting easy” these days, but these new reports probably aren’t adding to her stress either.