The Latest: Women speak out against Epstein in court

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Jeffrey Epstein

FILE – This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. Up to 30 women were expected to take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, after financier Epstein killed himself rather than face sex trafficking charges. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case (all times local):

1:35 p.m.

More than a dozen women who call themselves survivors have spoken out in court about sexual abuse they say they’ve suffered at the hands of Jeffrey Epstein.

The emotional two-and-a-half-hour testimony Tuesday came weeks after the 66-year-old financier killed himself in a New York jail cell while awaiting his sex trafficking trial.

The extraordinary court hearing was called by the judge presiding over Epstein’s trial. He set the hearing after prosecutors asked that he scrap charges against Epstein since the defendant is dead.

Many of the women said this was the closest they’d come to getting their day in court.

Most remained composed but several cried as they described falling into Epstein’s web.

His death left some of them angry, others sad and one of them described her relief that he was gone and could abuse no others.

___

12:50 p.m.

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers says prosecutors should continue their “pursuit of justice” even though he died before his sex trafficking trial started.

Sarah Ransome said at a Manhattan hearing that she and other Epstein accusers are survivors.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said earlier in the hearing Tuesday that Epstein’s Aug. 10 death, ruled a suicide, was a “stunning turn of events.”

The judge said accusers were being heard “because of their relevant experiences.”

Virginia Roberts Giuffre told the court that Epstein’s death dashed her hopes and stole her dreams.

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but the women have come forward publicly.

Berman set Tuesday’s hearing after prosecutors asked that he scrap charges against Epstein since the defendant is dead.

___

12:30 p.m.

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers told a judge that an expert hired by the family says injuries to his neck were more consistent with homicide than suicide.

Prosecutors and lawyers for Epstein spoke about his death at a Manhattan jail during a court hearing Tuesday.

A New York City coroner ruled that Epstein’s Aug. 10 death in his cell was a suicide by hanging.

Attorney Martin Weinberg asked U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to look into the matter.

A prosecutor argued the judge would not have jurisdiction.

Berman responded: “I think it’s fair game for defense counsel to raise its concerns.”

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

___

12 p.m.

One of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers says the late financier was a “coward,” and she feels “very angry and sad” that he killed himself before going to trial.

Courtney Wild spoke at a Manhattan hearing on Tuesday.

Wild has said she was sexually abused by Epstein when she was 14 in Palm Beach, Florida.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said earlier in the hearing that Epstein’s Aug. 10 death, ruled a suicide, was a “stunning turn of events.”

The judge said accusers have been included in the hearing “because of their relevant experiences.”

The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Wild has come forward publicly.

Some other accusers testified anonymously at the hearing.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

___

10:55 a.m.

A federal judge in New York is giving Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers a chance to speak at a hearing involving the late financier’s sex trafficking case.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said at a hearing that got underway on Tuesday morning that Epstein’s Aug. 10 suicide was a “stunning turn of events.”

He said accusers have been included in the hearing “because of their relevant experiences.”

Up to 30 women were expected to address the court along with prosecutors and Epstein lawyers.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

___

1:25 a.m.

Up to 30 women were expected to take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing after financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself before facing sex trafficking charges.

The hearing Tuesday morning was scheduled last week by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. Berman presided over the case prosecutors brought against Epstein after the 66-year-old convicted felon was arrested July 6. A New York City coroner has formally classified the death a suicide. He died Aug. 10.

The judge set the hearing after prosecutors asked that he scrap charges against Epstein since the defendant is dead. Berman said he would give prosecutors, Epstein lawyers and any victims a chance to speak.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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