West Palm Beach, FL—Financier Jeffrey Epstein on Tuesday settled a nearly decade-long state court defamation suit against him, moments before jury selection in a trial expected to include testimony from multiple women who contend he sexually abused them when they were children. Edwards v. Epstein, et al., 2009-CA-040800.
Financial terms of the settlement, between Epstein and Bradley Edwards, an attorney who represents some of the dozens of women who say Epstein abused them when they were as young as 13, were not disclosed.
Tuesday’s settlement announcement resolves a web of state-court litigation between the two men, stemming from Edwards’ representation of women seeking to overturn a controversial plea bargain that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution on child-sex charges.
“While Mr. Edwards was representing clients against me, I filed a lawsuit against him in which I made allegations about him that the evidence conclusively proves were absolutely false,” Epstein’s attorney, Link & Rockenbach’s Scott Link, read from a statement the 65-year old wealth manager provided as part of the settlement announcement. “The lawsuit I filed was my unreasonable attempt to damage his business reputation and cause Mr. Edwards to stop pursuing cases against me.”
During his height as a money manager and before his criminal downfall, Epstein counted an array of political and financial powerhouses, including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, among his business connections.
However, a Palm Beach Police Department investigation in 2005 and an FBI investigation a year later found evidence Epstein lured dozens of underage girls to his Florida mansion, where he allegedly sexually abused them. Despite the evidence against him, Epstein avoided federal prosecution, negotiating a secret deal with then-US Attorney, and current US Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, according to an in-depth series of stories by the Miami Herald.
Under the terms of that deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to two state counts of solicitation of prostitution—one with a minor—and served 13 months in jail.
Epstein’s accusers, some of whom are represented by Edwards, contend the secret plea bargain violated their right to be informed of such agreements. That litigation, in federal court, remains unaffected by Tuesday’s settlement between the two men.
“Bradley Edwards’ commitment to his clients, to pursue the Crime Victims’ Rights Act case challenging the non-prosecution agreement, the sweetheart plea bargain that the federal government secretly entered into with Jeffrey Epstein, that commitment will be followed through to conclusion,” Edwards’ attorney, Searcy Denney’s Jack Scarola, said in announcing the settlement.
“This settlement is not a compromise with Jeffrey Epstein. It is a surrender by Jeffrey Epstein,” Scarola said. “For the sake of Epstein’s victims, and for the vindication of his own reputation, Bradley Edwards would not and did not compromise his claims.”
CVN covered the settlement announcement, which is available on demand.
Email Arlin Crisco at firstname.lastname@example.org.