Jeffrey Epstein, a politically connected multimillionaire who molested dozens of underage girls and is suspected of trafficking countless other girls around the world, issued a public apology Tuesday. However, his apology was directed not at the victims whose lives were irrevocably changed by the abuse, but to one of their lawyers, the Miami Herald reports. The apology came as a settlement was announced between Epstein, 65, and Fort Lauderdale attorney Bradley Edwards, who represents several of Epstein’s victims. Those victims, now in their late 20s and early 30s, had been scheduled to testify in the trial, which was about to get underway. Michelle Licata, 30, one of the women molested by Epstein when she was underage, said, “I’m still waiting for our apology for ruining our lives and taking away the innocence from every one of us.’’
The trial ended before it began, with a dramatic statement by Edwards’ attorney, Jack Scarola, that Epstein admitted he’d used the civil justice system “as a tool for extortion” in order to intimidate Edwards into abandoning his quest for justice for Licata and Epstein’s other victims. Epstein sued Edwards a decade ago, tying the lawyer to convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein. On Tuesday, Epstein admitted in a written statement that his lawsuit was in fact a spiteful effort to damage Edwards’ reputation and pressure him to drop the girls as clients. There was also a monetary settlement, which was undisclosed. Edwards said he agreed to settle the case because it would have been pointless having the victims testify in this forum because the judge had limited the parameters of what he could introduce.