By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lawyer for the estate of late accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein said on Friday he expects most accusers who have sued the estate to take part in a fund to compensate victims.
In a letter filed in Manhattan federal court, Bennet Moskowitz, who represents the estate’s executors, said five plaintiffs have already put their lawsuits on hold pending participation in the fund, and the “vast majority” of plaintiffs with cases pending in that court “will or are very likely to participate.”
The fund would allow victims to be paid confidentially, and women who chose not to take part could still pursue claims in court, the executors said in November.
Epstein’s estate has been estimated to total at least $577 million, but its lawyers have said that amount could change because of estate taxes, and because the U.S. government might seek civil forfeiture of properties it holds.
The fund would be overseen by administrators including Kenneth Feinberg, who worked on a fund for victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Epstein died last Aug. 10 at age 66, and an autopsy found that he had hanged himself.
His death came five weeks after Epstein was arrested on federal charges that he trafficked dozens of underage girls from at least 2002 to 2005. Epstein pleaded not guilty. Some accusers have said his sexual misconduct began many years earlier.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)