Jeffrey Epstein's accusers made it clear: They will not allow his death to keep them silent.
On Tuesday, 16 women appeared in Manhattan court room to speak about the alleged abuse they endured at the hands of the wealthy financier, who died of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges. The women, some of whom testified as Jane Doe, detailed the ways Epstein had used his wealth and powerful connections to force them into having sex with him as well as his high-profile associates.
Many of the accusers expressed their anger over Epstein's death, saying it robbed them of their chance to achieve justice.
"He showed the world what a depraved and cowardly human being he was by taking his own life," said Sarah Ransome, one of Epstein's alleged victims.
As reported by Reuters, Ransome and others urged prosecutors to continue to investigate Epstein's purported sex trafficking ring, and pursue charges against his co-conspirators.
"Please, please finish what you started," Ransome said in court. "We all know he did not act alone."
Epstein was arrested last month on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking. The 66-year-old was denied bail, and remained at the Metropolitan Correctional Facility as he faced up to 45 years behind bars.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said he decided to order Tuesday's hearing to address the prosecution's efforts to dismiss the indictment against Epstein in wake of his death.
"The Court believes that where, as here, a defendant has died before any judgment has been entered against him, the public may still have an informational interest in the process by which the prosecutor seeks dismissal of an indictment," Judge Berman wrote.
According to the New York Times, prosecutors have asked the judge to formally dismiss the case against Epstein; however, they reassured his accusers that the government will continue to investigate all potential co-conspirators, including Epstein's alleged madame Ghislaine Maxwell, as well as powerful figures like former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Senator George Mitchell, Hyatt hotels executive chairman Tom Pritzker, and the late MIT professor Marvin Minsky.
Epstein'— who also has ties to President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton—was found unconscious in his prison cell on Aug. 10, shortly after he was purportedly taken off suicide watch. The New York City medical examiner has since determined Epstein died by hanging himself—a conclusion that has been met with widespread skepticism.
Sources say Epstein was under strict monitoring while he was incarcerated, and was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. Following his death, two prison guards were ultimately suspended for failing to conduct the required check-ups. Insiders later told the Times that these guards fell asleep for at least three hours on the day Epstein died, and attempted to conceal their mistakes by falsifying documents.
Unsurprisingly, theories of foul play began to circulate, as have theories of an elaborate cover-up.
"There are conspiracy theories galore," Epstein's defense lawyer Reid Weingarten said Tuesday.
Sources recently told the Washington Post that surveillance video taken by one of the cameras outside of Epstein's cell was deemed "unusable" by federal investigators, a detail that has fueled conspiracy theories. The publication notes it is unclear why the footage was considered too flawed, but the sources claim officials have obtained clearer footage captured by another nearby camera.