Democrat calls for congressional investigation after Epstein death

Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelUS must lead the charge on global reproductive rights — not stand in the way Charlize Theron: We didn't want the politics to overshadow 'Bombshell' Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort MORE (D-Fla.) on Saturday called for a congressional investigation into a former plea deal for disgraced billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein after he reportedly died of an apparent suicide in his Manhattan jail cell.

“The death of Jeffrey #Epstein does not end the need for justice for his victims or the right of the public to know why a prolific child molester got a slap on the wrist instead of a long prison sentence,” Frankel tweeted.

“With the obvious end to criminal proceedings against Epstein, it is important that the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform begin its investigation,” she added.

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Epstein, who was arrested early last month, was in jail awaiting trial on allegations of trafficking dozens of minors for sex after previously accepting a plea deal in 2008 over similar accusations that landed him on the sex offender registry.

He had reportedly been on suicide watch since late July, when he was found unconscious in his jail cell with injuries to his neck.

Lawmakers quickly led public calls to demand answers after reports surfaced of Epstein’s death. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteyer, Biden clash over climate credentials Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny Sanders doubles down on Bolivia 'coup,' few follow suit MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted Saturday that “we need answers. Lots of them.”

Sen. Ben SasseBenjamin (Ben) Eric SasseTrump circuit court nominee in jeopardy amid GOP opposition Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges Senators press NSA official over shuttered phone surveillance program MORE (R-Neb.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary oversight subcommittee, said in a statement that “as a matter of public policy, the government has failed” Epstein’s victims, who will no longer be able to face their alleged abuser in court.

“It is inexcusable that this rapist was not under constant suicide watch,” Sasse wrote. “These victims deserved to face their serial abuser in court.”

Following Epstein’s death, criminal proceedings against him will likely come to an end, though a lawyer representing several of his accusers said they may still bring civil suits against his estate.

"On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started," attorney Lisa Bloom tweeted.

 

CORRECTION: This story was updated at 12:11 p.m. to clarify that Frankel is calling for an investigation into Epstein's former plea deal