Justice is not over for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein despite the circumstances of his death, writes Margaret Valenti.
It seemed as though minutes after the announcement of billionaire, financier, pedophile, sex trafficker, and sexual assaulter Jeffrey Epstein’s death, the memes surged forth on the internet. There are a range of conspiracy theories about how the man died, who was involved, and whether enough was done to prevent his death following his attempted suicide in prison.
Despite numerous reports about his death being a suicide, people took to the meme-isphere implying who could have killed Epstein, including one that suggested Epstein’s death was a bi-partisan effort within the US government. Some might say that the memes came too soon after Epstein’s death to be lighthearted or funny, but millennials and gen z kids — most of the meme creators — are not known for their decorum when it comes to the criminal elite. While many of the theories are ludicrous, there are multiple aspects of Epstein’s death that do not add up and standard procedures were not followed before his supposed suicide.
While justice may not prevail against Epstein, there were many other people who knew of or engaged with Epstein in the illegal and abusive acts against young girls. There is still plenty of time for justice to prevail for the victims and their families and the case against those involved should continue despite the death of the leader.
Could there be others involved in Epstein’s death? Sure. There is an investigation underway about how he died but according to numerous reports, Epstein attempted suicide earlier in prison and was put on suicide watch. The day before his death, documents were released incriminating many “powerful men” as Epstein’s clientele, all of whom would have motive. Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, named financiers, hedge fund managers, and politically connected individuals all of whom deny Giuffre’s allegations and claim to have no relationship with Epstein, any of his victims, or anyone close to him.
The memes also bring up suspicions relating to Trump’s involvement with Epstein and Epstein’s business. There are allegations that Trump raped a thirteen year old girl in Jeffrey Epstein’s apartment in New York City and there are videos of him and Epstein partying in Mara Lago, though this encounter was a decade before Epstein would plead guilty to prostitution charges. The hashtag #trumpbodycount surfaced on the internet shortly after the news of Epstein’s alleged suicide followed by the hashtag #clintonbodycount. Trump eventually fed into the conspiracy theories himself, retweeting a tweet by comedian Terrence K. Williams claiming that the Clinton’s may have killed Epstein, despite there being more evidence to suggest that Trump had a problematic relationship with Epstein.
There are certainly many people around Epstein who probably wanted him dead once he was exposed. Anyone whose name was likely to be mentioned during what was to be a very public trial, either by Giuffre or another one of Epstein’s victims, could be a person who either killed Epstein directly or more likely encouraged him to kill himself. The explanation currently is that he killed himself because he did not want to face jail time and eventually die in prison. It is doubtful that he ever felt any disgrace or remorse for the things he did. The question is how the victims of Epstein will receive justice with him in the morgue?
People are thrilled that Epstein is dead, feeling that he got exactly what he deserved, but Epstein’s crimes are not just about Epstein. The victims of his abuse will not get their day in court and will not see the man that caused them so much emotional and physical pain punished. Many called Epstein’s death a tragedy, not for him, but for the people who may no longer be able to receive justice and the closure they deserve.
The partial good news is that Epstein is not the only one who can be held accountable. There are many other people who were a part of Epstein’s business, including the men who Giuffre named. One of Epstein’s co-conspirators and girlfriend, Ghissilaine Maxwell, daughter of publishing tycoon Robert Maxwell, reportedly helped to recruit young women for Epstein and recruited Giuffre herself. Her whereabouts are currently unknown.
Though she has not yet been charged with any crimes, given the current climate it seems that she may end up facing the music. In 2007, when Epstein admitted to prostitution in a ridiculous plea deal, he was able to protect many of his co-conspirators due to an immunity agreement that was negotiated with prosecutors. Now that he is dead, he is going to be unable to help his co-conspirators, mainly Maxwell, or any of the men who were named or will be named by the victims.
Why she was not arrested with Epstein given all the evidence and allegations against her is unknown, but she will probably be held accountable given the public outrage. Ideally, every single person who was intimately involved with Epstein’s business and enabled him with the knowledge of his illegal activities should be in jail. Unfortunately, that is unlikely given the power and riches of many of those involved. Maxwell will become the next scapegoat for all of the “powerful men” involved with Epstein who do not want their names dragged through a public trial as they deserve to be.
However this plays out, whether Epstein’s death is determined to be a suicide or not, preventable or not, the focus should not be just on Epstein; the focus should be on his co-conspirators, his business partners, and anyone who participated in anyway in these horrific abuses of underage young women. The victims of this case still need to be heard and deserve to have their day in court to face their abusers. The time for justice is certainly not over for the victims of Jeffrey Epstein.