Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein’s $577-million estate are wasting no time in trying to dismiss victims’ claims for damages, as more women come forward with lawsuits alleging sexual abuse, court records show.
On Monday, an attorney for Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn—two mysterious Epstein employees who’ve worked for the financier’s charities and serve as the executors of his will—wrote U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla, asking for a conference before they file a motion to dismiss one accuser’s claims for punitive damages. The woman’s case is just one of 17 lawsuits filed against Epstein’s estate since August, when the 66-year-old killed himself in jail as he faced sex-trafficking charges in New York.
The plaintiff, identified only as Jane Doe, seeks punitive damages (as well as compensatory and other damages) and alleges she was 14 when she met Epstein in 2002, and that he repeatedly sexually abused her at his New York mansion until 2005. Doe’s complaint, filed in September, accuses Epstein of sexual assault; sexual battery; intentional infliction of emotional distress; and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Bennet Moskowitz, the lawyer representing Indyke and Kahn, pushed to dismiss Doe’s claims for punitive damages, arguing that the four counts in Doe’s lawsuit are based on personal injuries, and that per New York law, punitive damages can’t be recovered from the representatives of the deceased.
Now 31, Doe was “Minor Victim-1” in the indictment filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors, the complaint states. Epstein’s abuse “forever scarred her and altered her life,” her suit says, and she never finished high school and continues to suffer from PTSD.
Doe’s attorney, Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan, wrote to Judge Failla and Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman on Wednesday in response to Moskowitz’s letter, saying “there is no good reason for further delay in this case.” Kaplan says the case should be ready for trial in six months or less.
Kaplan argued that Indyke and Kahn “have not identified a single reason to dismiss” Doe’s claims and their sole argument pertains to the question of damages. She called their motion to dismiss a “time-waster,” because Doe is requesting other relief besides punitive damages, and New York law may not apply since Epstein filed his will in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
“In fact, given the small number of anticipated witnesses, Mr. Epstein’s obvious unavailability to testify, and the straightforward nature of [Jane Doe’s] tort claims, minimal discovery is required,” Kaplan wrote. “This case can and should be ready for trial within six months.”
The letters come two weeks after Freeman rebuked Epstein’s estate for keeping accusers in the dark about a victim compensation fund. On Wednesday, the estate’s lawyers asked a judge in the Virgin Islands, where Epstein’s last will and testament was filed, to expedite approval of their proposed fund, the New York Post reported.
Kahn and Indyke said this fund would create a “voluntary, confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation,” though women who decline to participate in the program would still be permitted to pursue their claims in court.
The lawyers have yet to specify how much money will be available in the fund.
In a statement to The Daily Beast, Kaplan said, “The process that the Estate has asked a Virgin Islands court to expedite was launched without our consent or involvement, despite multiple requests for that to happen.”
Meanwhile, Epstein’s estate is attempting to persuade judges to toss other victims’ claims while lawsuits continue to trickle into the courts.
This week sawthe latest lawsuit against Epstein’s estate. In the complaint, nine women claim they were sexually assaulted and raped in a series of encounters spanning decades. One of those women, Jane Doe III, says Epstein and his associates sexually assaulted and raped her when she was 13 years old in 2003. A second accuser, Jane Doe II, said Epstein abused her in 1985, when she was 23.
While Moskowitz has yet to respond to the most recent lawsuit, he has acted swiftly to try and have a slew of similar complaints dismissed, or at least strike parts of those claims.
On Nov. 29, Moskowitz filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an accuser known as “VE,” who claims Epstein assaulted her when she was 16. In a memorandum of law, Moskowitz argued VE’s battery claim is time-barred and that the counts against companies owned by Epstein are vague and fail to state a claim.
That day, Moskowitz also sent letters to federal judges regarding his plans to file motions to dismiss complaints filed by Lisa Doe and Priscilla Doe (who are suing Epstein’s companies in addition to his estate) for failure to state a claim. A third letter, pertaining to a similar lawsuit filed by Katlyn Doe, argued that a majority of her claims should be dismissed, too, for reasons including failure to state a claim and lack of personal jurisdiction.
Katlyn’s complaint lists defendants including Indyke and Kahn, as representatives of Epstein’s estate, along with Epstein’s corporations like the Financial Trust Company; JEGE, Inc., which owned his private jet; and the Florida Science Foundation.
“Defendants do not anticipate moving to dismiss all claims against the Estate,” Moskowitz wrote of Katlyn Doe’s suit. But he said the court should dismiss those against the “Corporate Defendants” because the claims “do not sufficiently state what any person acting on behalf of the Corporate Defendants specifically did or failed to do that gives rise to liability against any of them, let alone when and where such specific acts or omissions occurred.”
As for Jane Doe’s case, Kaplan claims that lawyers for Epstein’s estate “admit that they have zero grounds to dismiss any of our client’s sexual assault claims and other claims based on Mr. Epstein’s crimes that began when she was 14 years old.”
“Nonetheless, Defendants seek to further delay this case by asking the Court to decide now what kinds of damages our client is entitled to receive, even though they concede she would clearly be entitled to compensatory and other damages once she proves her claims, which she surely will,” Kaplan said in a statement.
She added that Indyke and Kahn’s “motivation is patently obvious—more and more delay.”
Victims and their lawyers have long accused Epstein of preying on vulnerable underage girls, enticing them to give him “massages” at his luxury homes in Florida, New York and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he would allegedly sexually assault and rape them. Afterward, Epstein or his employees allegedly handed the girls $200 to $1,000. The accusations in Doe’s lawsuit are no different.
Doe, who was raised by a single mother, said her family struggled to pay the bills, especially because of her sister’s medical conditions. “Doe always worried about whether her family had enough money and thought about how she could help her sister then and into the future,” her complaint states.
Around the time she met the perverted money-manager, Doe’s mother and sister shared a bedroom, and the family rented out the other bedrooms in their apartment to pay the rent. Doe was forced to stay with friends and take odd jobs after school to help her family make rent.
Doe claims she was recruited into Epstein’s sex ring by an older teenage girl in her neighborhood who suggested a wealthy man could help her financially. “Hoping to help her family and support herself, Doe agreed to meet Epstein,” the lawsuit states.
“While Epstein physically and emotionally hurt and exploited Doe, a vulnerable young girl, she also became financially dependent on him,” the lawsuit continues. “She stopped attending school and spent almost all her time ‘working’ at his home, gratifying him sexually, or bringing other girls to do the same.
According to the lawsuit, “All told, Doe was sexually assaulted by Epstein countless times over the course ofthree years.”