A famed lawyer who distributed money to the families of 9/11 victims and survivors of priest abuse will now do the same for those abused by sex fiend financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Ken Feinberg will help oversee a “voluntary claims resolution program” to distribute portions of Epstein’s $577 million estate to women victimized by his international sex trafficking scheme. The proposal requires the approval of a judge in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Epstein’s will is filed.
“We are pleased to have been asked to implement this important program, and are eager to begin designing it so that claimants will have a forum where their suffering is acknowledged and their claims are promptly and appropriately compensated,” Feinberg said in a release.
Several attorneys representing Epstein’s victims said the proposal came a complete surprise.
“We find it astonishing that you would go to the probate court for approval without first consulting with the lawyers for the many women Mr. Epstein abused. In fact, it feels very much like a continuation of his crimes and abuse after his death,” attorney Roberta Kaplan wrote to an attorney for Epstein’s estate this week.
Once a victim accepts the money, she cannot pursue claims in court.
Related: The Jeffrey Epstein case
The Epstein case has been shrouded in secrecy for more than a decade. The 2008 sweetheart plea deal he negotiated with federal authorities kept his victims in the dark and helped the financier remain a member of high society.
He killed himself in August while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges — but the circumstances surrounding his suicide behind bars remain unclear.
At an emotional hearing after Epstein’s stunning death, victims called for a deeper investigation into his trafficking operation. Thousands of pages in a civil case over the perv’s scheme are still being unsealed.
Feinberg, a widely respected lawyer, has said that victims compensation programs offer a quick, confidential way to obtain closure that avoids lengthy, emotionally exhausting litigation.
Once approved by the court, the Epstein claims program could start accepting applications within 90 days.
In 2016, Timothy Cardinal Dolan appointed Feinberg the administrator of the Archdiocese of New York’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program, which distributed money to victims of predatory priests. That program paid $40,050,000 to 189 victims.
Jordy Feldman, who recently served as Deputy Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, will oversee the Epstein claims process if it is approved.
“This important program will offer victims the opportunity to obtain long-overdue compensation, to be heard and treated with the compassion, dignity and respect they deserve, and to achieve some measure of justice and validation that has eluded them for so many years," Feldman said.