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Epstein, Spacey: Criminal Charges Lead to Civil Suits


When federal prosecutors unveiled a two-count indictment against South Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein on July 8, 2019, the allegations were shockingly familiar. As reported by Miami’s CBS News Channel 4, the accusations are very similar to those against him a decade ago, when Epstein was the beneficiary of a secret, extremely lenient plea bargain.

The recent Epstein arrest is another in a long line of disturbing criminal cases which allege sexual misconduct against celebrities. As matters involving Epstein, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and others play out in criminal court and the media, it’s important to remember that victims also have rights in civil court, and may be able to recover monetary damages for their injuries and emotional distress. Discuss your situation with a Florida personal injury and victim’s rights lawyer to learn more, and read on for some important information about these cases.

Basis of Charges Against Epstein, Spacey: If he were convicted on the federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking, Epstein would have faced a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 45 years in prison; if any of the victims were under age 14, the minimum would have been 15 years’ incarceration. Under federal sentencing guidelines, his criminal past would have also been a factor when a judge determined the amount of prison time.

Actor Kevin Spacey was also recently facing charges in a criminal case in Massachusetts, though the allegations involved sexual assault of an 18-year-old victim. If convicted in this state court case, Spacey could have been sentenced to five years in prison and forced to register as a sex offender. 

Civil Actions Stemming from Criminal Charges: Even as criminal cases proceed, it’s important to realize that victims can also seek justice through the civil court system. In these cases, the victim is the plaintiff rather than the state or federal government; instead of prison time or fines, the requested relief is usually compensation for:

  • The costs of medical treatment for physical injuries, if any;
  • Expenses related to psychological or psychiatric care;
  • Emotional and mental distress, in the past, present, and future; and
  • Other monetary damages depending on the details of the case.

Fortunately for the victims who suffered losses as a result of sexual misconduct, the standard of proof is lower in a civil suit as compared to a criminal case. You must prove your allegations by a preponderance of the evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Jury Award in Invasion of Privacy Suit Against 50 Cent: A civil lawsuit Freidin Brown, P.A. filed against rapper 50 Cent provides an example of how victims can seek compensation for sexual misconduct. In that case, our client claimed the rap artist wrongfully and intentionally released a private sex tape of her and her boyfriend.  Our firm took this case to trial, winning a verdict in her favor. The jury awarded $7 million in damages for our client’s emotional distress, one of the highest of its kind in New York.

Contact a Florida Personal Injury and Victim’s Rights Attorney Today 

To learn more about your rights as the victim of sexual assault of other sexual misconduct, please contact the Florida personal injury lawyers at Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation. We can meet with you at our offices in Miami or Fort Myers to explain your legal options.


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