Jeffrey Epstein victims sue FBI, allege coverup of human trafficking crimes

The number of Epstein's victims is believed to be well over 100.
The number of Epstein's victims is believed to be well over 100. Photo credit: Netflix

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the FBI of covering up its failure to investigate the late financier, enabling his sex trafficking to continue for more than 20 years.

The victims, using Jane Doe pseudonyms, said the FBI received credible tips as early as 1996 that Epstein trafficked young women and girls, yet failed to interview victims or share what it knew with federal and local law enforcement.

Victims said the FBI finally began a probe in 2006, but ended it two years later after Epstein pleaded guilty to a Florida prostitution charge, and kept ignoring tips until his July 2019 arrest. Epstein committed suicide a month later.

"As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI's negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened," the complaint said.

"Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom -- once and for all -- of the FBI's role in Epstein's criminal sex trafficking ring," it added.

The U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday's complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan seeks damages from the U.S. government, the only defendant.

It cited a Dec. 5, 2023, Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where FBI Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn't do more. He promised to "get with my team and figure out if there is more information we can provide."

The number of Epstein's victims is believed to be well over 100.

Victims previously reached approximately $500 million of settlements, before deducting legal fees and costs, with a program funded by Epstein's estate and with two of Epstein's banks, JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), opens new tab and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE), opens new tab.

It is unclear whether the 12 plaintiffs received compensation from those settlements. Their lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The case is Doe 1 et al v United States, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 24-01071.