The executors of the estate of the late accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday asked a judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands for approval to set up a voluntary compensation program for victims of the wealthy financier.
The proposed program would be lead by claims experts including Kenneth Feinberg, who oversaw the U.S. government’s compensation fund for victims of the September 11 terror attacks. The fund could reduce the number of pending and future victim lawsuits against Epstein’s estate by giving women money they would otherwise seek through litigation.
The co-executors of Epstein’s estate, Darren Indyke and Richard Kahn, on Thursday filed documents in the Virgin Islands asking for expedited approval for the voluntary claims resolution program. Epstein had a residence on a private island he owned there.
The request comes three months after the 66-year-old Epstein — a former friend of President Donald Trump and Bill Clinton — died from what authorities have ruled suicide by hanging while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges in a Manhattan jail.
“The Co-Executors seek to provide claimants the opportunity to obtain appropriate compensation and to be heard and treated with compassion, dignity and respect,” according to a press release issued by Indyke and Kahn.
The executors would begin accepting claims around three months after being approved by the court.
That program would “allow eligible individuals the opportunity to resolve their sexual abuse claims against Mr. Epstein and his Estate through a confidential, non-adversarial alternative to litigation,” the release said.
Epstein’s estate is valued at more than $570 million.
A number of his accusers have pending lawsuits against the estate.
Brad Edwards, a lawyer for a number of Epstein accusers, told CNBC in an email, “If the Estate is placing all estate assets into the claims program for victims, then it is a positive step.”
“In the meantime, we intend to get the filed cases to trial quickly. Either way, justice for our clients, without delay, is our goal,” Edwards.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images
Feinberg said in a prepared statement, “We are pleased to have been asked to implement this important program, and are eager to begin designing it so that claimants will have a forum where their suffering is acknowledged and their claims are promptly and appropriately compensated.”
Working with Feinberg to design and operate the fund will be Jordana Feldman, who has served as deputy special master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, and Camille Biros, a Feinberg associate who has worked with him on compensation programs for sex abuse victims of Roman Catholic priests.
Feldman would be the fund’s administrator and “have complete autonomy and decision-making authority over program operations and claim determinations,” according to the press release.
“And the Estate will have no authority to modify or reject Ms. Feldman’s decisions on any basis or as to any claim,” the release said.
Several lawyers who represent victims of Epstein did not immediately return requests for comment.
Epstein was arrested in July on federal child sex trafficking charges.
Prosecutors alleged Epstein sexually abused dozens of underage girls in his Manhattan townhouse and Palm Beach, Florida, mansion from 2002 through 2005,
Epstein, who had pleaded not guilty in the case. He died from hanging while being held in a federal jail in Manhattan.
The New York City Chief Medical Examiner’s Office ruled that he committed suicide.
But a forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s brother has said the injuries Epstein suffered are more commonly found in victims of homicides than in suicide.