Epstein killed himself, authorities say, in federal prison as he faced criminal charges alleging sex trafficking of underage girls, some as young as 14, in his mansions in New York and Florida. And yet with a few notable exceptions, the national media infrequently covered Epstein’s behavior and rarely looked at the associates who helped him evade accountability for his actions — at least, not until the Miami Herald’s Julie K. Brown’s investigative series late last year.

“We count on the press to uncover problems, not merely to report on when problems have been prosecuted and when people have been indicted, but to uncover problems before they reach that stage,” says David Boies, an attorney for several of Epstein’s accusers. “And here you had a terrible problem. A horrific series of abuses.”

Boies’ firm helped file lawsuits in 2015 and 2017 for clients alleging that Epstein and his associates had sexually trafficked underage girls, at his various homes. The suits were publicly available documents but received little attention in the press.

“We spread them out in two public complaints. We would go to the media to try to explain what was going on,” Boies tells NPR. “With the exception, really, of the Miami Herald and the Daily Beast, prior to the arrest [of Epstein this summer] there was almost no substantive coverage.”