Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.
Tue, 24 Sep 2019 10:00
Virginia Roberts Giuffre shares her account to NBC News’ Savannah Guthrie of being forced to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein and others in his powerful orbit, including Prince Andrew, and her allegation that Epstein’s associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, played a crucial role in his sex trafficking organization. Originally aired on NBC on September 20, 2019.
They told me to take my clothes off. In an instant I knew. I knew what was happening. It's the explosive story NBC News has investigated all year. This was a very prolific sexual predator, the secret world of Jeffrey Epstein. There are six of you before me. How many victims do you think there could be? I was shocked that court how many girls women speak out, some for the first time on television. You would have to be with him several times a day. The servitude was constant. I felt like I couldn't escape, and a new account from the police chief who first dogged Epstein more than a decade ago. This is the worst failure of the criminal justice system to modern times. How is it that nobody ever came forward? Maybe they were scared of. I mean, I'm still scared. Jeffrey thought that we were disposable, and look who's still standing. A new front in this long battle for justice. I'm Lester Holt and this is a special edition of Dateline. My colleague Savannah Guthrie from the Today show is here with reckoning. You're at home in Australia and you get the news that Jeffrey Epstein has committed suicide in his jail cell. What did you think? It was such a shock to me. I mean, when I say shock, I didn't have the words. I was in mourning not because the world lost a monster. You weren't warning him. I was not mourning him. I wasn't mourning the death of this man. I was mourning the death of my ability to hold this man accountable. The victims of Jeffrey Epstein say it's not too late for a reckoning. A notorious figure now, Epstein was a wealthy New York financier with several vast estates. Even his own private Caribbean island. A powerful man who ran in elite circles. A friend to presidents past and future. He was also an accused sex trafficker, and his victims stories share a common thread. They were young and vulnerable, and they say he offered to use his wealth and power to help them, at least at first. Back in 2000, Virginia Roberts Jeffrey was a high school student living near Palm Beach, FL. My dad worked at Mar-a-lago, which was so cool. And he said, you know, I can get you a summer job there at Mar-a-lago. Mar-a-lago, and what was the job? I was a locker room attendant in the spa area. So I love the surroundings and the music and how calm everybody was. I was like, I know what I want to do now. I want to become a massage therapist. I want to work in a spa like this. Then one day, she says, she was working at Mar-a-lago, reading a book on massage therapy. When opportunity knocked, I get approached by this beautiful. Well spoken, well mannered woman with an English accent from improper. And she says it's so funny that you're reading a book on that, because I know this older gentleman who's looking for a traveling masseuse. He's super rich. He flies around everywhere. Did she say her name? She told me your name was Kevin Maxwell. Gilen Maxwell, the woman who's alternately described as Jeffrey Epstein's friend, companion and partner, a jet setting socialite who grew up the daughter of a wealthy British media Baron. And she said if you're, if you're interested, we can come. You can come by the house tonight and go for an interview. And what did you say? Of course I said yes, I was excited. I mean, I told her I was like, I have no training, don't worry about it, she said. He's got amazing abilities to help people out. That's what he likes to do, the story. Of what happened in her very first visit to Jeffrey Epstein's Palm Beach home is 1, Virginia has told in lawsuits and court filings, and is now telling on television for the very first time. So I follow keelen up the stairs. Through Jeffrey's bedroom and into a bathroom and there's this man laying naked on a green massage table. In the middle of the room, that's the first time you laid eyes on Jeffrey Epstein. So very first time. And they looked at each other, and I call it the Cheshire cat grin, because he smiled and nodded as in like approval. As you were starting this message, did they try to get to know your background? Absolutely. Virginia told them about some of her difficult past. She was sexually abused by a family friend starting at age 7. By 12, she said she was a runaway who was also abused by strangers. She now believes revealing some of this made her easy prey in that first. Eating. And for the first while it did, it really did look normal. I mean, Gillen gets the lotion and then she's like, OK, you just follow what I do, OK, that sounds good. And we're going all the way through the back, the neck and the head. And then he turns over. And that's when. They told me to take my clothes off in an instant. I knew. I knew what was happening, but this wasn't the first time I'd been abused. I expected men to do this by this age. This is just was a normal for me now. You thought this is how the world works. This is how the world works. It kept going on and they told me to completely strip down and I left my undies on and they said, no, take your undies off first. But before they did that, they both looked at my undies and snickered and they said, oh, you've still got little girl undies. To be direct about it, did they ask you to have sex with Jeffrey Epstein? They asked me to lick his ******* and give him oral sex. And. Geelan was doing the same things that she asked me to do for him while touching me. In my private areas as well. And then at the very end, they instructed me to get on top of Epstein. And that's how. The knight. Ended Virginia says Epstein gave her $200.00 in cash and his Butler drove her home. Epstein invited her to come back the next day. Why did you go back? That answer is so complicated. I could have run. I should have run. I wish I ran. But fear was one. Fear of fear of what happens if I put these bad people off. I mean, I know they're powerful. When we come back, another powerful man enters the picture, she said. You're going to meet a Prince today, her story behind that infamous photo of Prince Andrew Killen said. I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein. Prince Andrew, of course, denies that this ever happened. The day after she says Jeffrey Epstein and Glenn Maxwell assaulted her, Virginia went back to Epstein's home. She says she thought they had a job for her. What did they promise or tell you would happen if you stayed with them? I would. Get educated and I would become a real masseuse. You know, that was the promise. I'd been so abused by that time, if this is what it was taking to get me a life away from abuse and into a normal life, like working at a spa in Mar-a-lago. That was a necessary evil. Virginia quickly found herself part of Epstein's luxurious life. She was jetting places on his private plane. You could see her name on these flight logs. She went to parties like this one for Naomi Campbell. And he paid her more money than she had ever had enough to get herself her own apartment. But she says it all came at a terrible cost. Jeffrey's life revolved around abuse. Virginia says she was expected to be on call for Epstein at all times, so sometimes you would have to. Be with him several times a day, several times a day, another young woman said in a deposition. Epstein told her his sexual appetite was biological. He needed to have three orgasms a day. The servitude was constant in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, while you're watching a movie, while you're in the airplane. It was everywhere. Was there pressure on you to look a certain way or to maintain a certain physical appearance? I had to pretend like I was happy. You couldn't just be depressed around Jeffrey. You had to pretend like. Like I told you, he wanted all of us to be his little Lolita. After several months with Epstein, Virginia says things took a turn when Epstein instructed her to have sex with other men. She was 17 when she flew with Epstein and Maxwell to London. What happened? Kielan woke me up in the morning, excited. And she said you're going to meet a Prince today. Maxwell was talking about Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth, second son. In court filings, Virginia has described what she says was her first encounter with the Prince. It began, she says, when they all had dinner with Prince Andrew and then went to an elite London nightclub. Prince Andrew was like, let's dance together. And I was like, OK, and he's a hideous dancer. And he was sweating profusely all over me and I just remember like, oh, I need a shower. Disgusting. That night ended. And I hop in the car with Geelan and Jeffrey and Guillen said he's coming back to the house and I want you to do for him what you do for Epstein. I couldn't believe it. She says they returned to Maxwell's London home. So we get upstairs and I used to carry around these little. Kodak. Disposable cameras. And Jeffrey is like, well, let me get a picture of you and Andrew together, and that's the infamous picture that everybody sees with geelan in the background. That's that. Her second story in the townhouse, Virginia, says she went with Prince Andrew into a bathroom and their sexual encounter began. The abuse went on for. A little bit in the bathroom and then it continued to the bedroom and. He wasn't rude or anything about it, he said, you know, thank you. She says the next time she saw the Prince was at Epstein's New York home, she remembers she and another girl were instructed to sit on the prince's lap. A person who was there told NBC News she remembers that incident. And then he groped one of our breasts. I'm not too sure exactly who. Ingelin took a picture. You know, we us girls were just toys, really, at the end of the day. Virginia says she was also directed to have sex with the Prince on Epstein's private island. You seem to have a very specific memory of those occasions. Have you thought about why that stands out to you so much? He was a Prince. He was like, he was famous. He's royalty and it just stuck out in my mind. I grew up watching Disney, just like most little girls grew up watching Disney and. Princesses and princesses were the good people of the world. And he wasn't. Prince Andrew, of course, denies that this ever happened. He denies that it ever happened and. He's going to keep denying that it ever happened, but he knows the truth, and I know the truth. Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying it is emphatically denied that the Duke of York had any form of sexual contact or relationship with Virginia Roberts. Any claim to the contrary is false and without foundation. Virginia admits during her time with Epstein she was free to come and go, but says it didn't always feel that way. You're getting in deeper and deeper. How is it that you? Didn't feel like you could go away, Jeffrey and Gillins's way of keeping us. Under his thumb, under his rule, under their control. Or invisible chains, and it was that constant. We own the police. You can't run. You can't tell anybody. We'll never be held accountable for this. Coming up, everybody was a piece of the puzzle. Everybody played a role deep inside the Epstein organization. They had eight people flying down to Brazil and actually recruiting underage girls off the soccer fields. How is it that nobody ever came forward? And Dateline continues. Hey, Becky here, your neighborhood dish service deck, and I've got something you're absolutely going to love TV that gives you all your entertainment in one place. We're talking live TV on demand movies and shows, hit series, Sports News, and all the original content you love from your favorite streaming services like Prime Video. And if that's not easy enough, you can use your voice to flip back and forth between Prime Video and live TV with the dish voice remote with Google Assistant. So when someone says they've got too many streaming services. And don't know where to find their shows? I tell them about DISH and how nice it is to have live TV and your favorite streaming apps all in one place. Get dish and get live in streaming TV with the Prime Video app built in. To learn more, call 1844. Call Dish visitdish.com or find a local retailer near you. Prime membership or Prime Video subscription required. See primevideo.com/terms for details. Voice remote requires Internet connection compatible device and Google account. Google is a trademark of Google LLC. How many girls would you say were there on any given day? God, that anywhere between sometimes between 5, sometimes 15, sometimes 20 in a day, in a day. Could you please give us your name? Jeffrey Epstein. Over the past year, NBC News spoke with nearly two dozen women who say they were abused by Jeffrey Epstein. We've pored over thousands of pages of court documents and police records, and what we've learned is this Epstein had a highly organized operation to bring him underage girls, starting with his team. Paid recruiters here at school one day. And someone walks up to you and starts talking to you, yeah, Jennifer Arrose says. She was 14 and standing on the sidewalk outside her New York City School when a young woman introduced herself. She was definitely trying to get to know me. I'm trying to find out, you know, where I was from, where I grew up, you know who I lived with. Jennifer says she told the woman her dad had died and money was tight. She also shared her dreams of acting on Broadway. The woman suggested Jennifer, come meet Jeffrey Epstein. Just saying he's very powerful, he's very wealthy, he's a great guy. He's like almost like a fatherly figure to her, you know? I guess with Chad, meaning for me at that time, because I was maybe longing for that which I was. Jennifer says she visited Epstein's. Several times in his New York City mansion before he asked her to give him a massage that turned sexual. Then, when she was 15, Jennifer says Epstein raped her. I was. Terrified. And I was telling him to stop. Please stop. You told him to stop? Yeah, I told him to stop. And did he? No, he did not stop. Shante Davies says she was 22 and an aspiring masseuse when she got recruited. And just like Virginia, she says her recruiter was Galen Maxwell, who, within hours of meeting her, invited her to Epstein's home to give him a massage. I remember Guillan once saying to me, just, you know, just do whatever he likes and you'll be fine after three or four sessions, Shante says Epstein. Raped her on his private island. What he did was destroy my life. Virginia says. Maxwell was one of Epstein's most effective recruiters and taught her how to do it too. Jeffrey was very particular in the kind of girls he wanted. First off was the younger the better. He said that, he said. Maxwell said that too. Maxwell during the training and telling me how to do it. You always have to go for the youngest looking ones. Epstein paid some of his victims to bring him new girls Virginia. As she did reluctantly. Can you still see the faces of some of those girls? Some of them, yes. Yeah. And it will always haunt me. In a sworn deposition, a Butler who used to work at Epstein's Palm Beach home said Maxwell kept contact information and photos of the girls on her computer. Other assistants helped with logistics. The secretary would contact me and say, you know, are you free? Can you come by? You know, Epstein would like to see you. Everybody was a piece of the puzzle. Everybody played a role. Jews first interview about her experience with Epstein. She says he abused her over many years from the time she was in her late teens. She remembers that Epstein's homes were filled with his staff, chefs, drivers, butlers, maids. You know if you're a young person walking into. A mansion. Or someone's island and all the people. Who are present are acting. As though this is OK and you're the only one who thinks it's weird. It's hard to say something. Some people might say. If all those people were seeing something, how is it that nobody ever came forward, nobody ever reported it? They might find it hard to believe because of that. I know a lot of the the House staff had to sign things called non-disclosure agreements. Maybe they felt entrapped by that. Maybe they were scared of Jeffrey and his associates in the power. I mean, I'm still scared. Our reporting points to another person who helped bring young girls into Epstein's world. His name is Jean Luc Brunel. He was the owner of an international modeling agency. Jeffrey personally told me he slept. He abused. He said slept because he likes to naturalize it. But he abused over 1000 women that Brunel brought in. Epstein told you that. Epstein told me that Michael Fiston is a former police detective and private investigator hired by the attorney for several victims. He has spent ten years investigating Epstein's network, including his relationship with Brunell. They had eight people, agents, talent scouts for this modeling agency, flying in Jeffrey's plane down to Brazil, and actually recruiting underage girls off. Soccer fields, bringing them here as potential models, but they will put in a house and all they were taken back and forth to Jeffrey's House. In a deposition, a bookkeeper for Brunel's modeling agency said Epstein lent the company $1,000,000. Virginia suspects it was all about one thing, and were there occasions where you were expected to have? Sexual relations with some of these girls and Epstein and Brunell absolutely a lot of the time. Sometimes there's 15 girls in a room and they don't even speak English and they would. The abuse would just go on and on and on. Virginia has alleged in court filings that in addition to Brunell and Prince Andrew, she was directed to have sex with several other prominent men in Epstein's orbit, politicians, business leaders, and academics. NBC News has not confirmed those accounts, and the men have all vigorously denied wrongdoing, denied knowing her, and challenged her credibility. Virginia stands by her accounts, but in our interview she acknowledged being unclear about some details of her past. For example, her age when she first met Epstein, she initially told people she was 15, but now says she was likely 16. Going on 17, you say you were coping during this period of time with taking a lot of Xanax. Taking drugs, drinking, they're going to be people who say. Maybe your memory is not serving you well. Maybe. This is all. In your imagination, maybe it didn't happen the way you say it happened. What do you say to that? I say when you're abused, you know you're abuser. I might not have my dates right, I might not have the times right. And sometimes an even any occasions like the the places might not even be right. But I know their faces and I know what they've done to me. Coming up, this was a very prolific sexual predator. The police chief on Epstein's trail more than a decade ago gives his first in-depth television interview. Did you feel? That you had a strong case. Oh, absolutely. In 2002, Virginia says Jeffrey Epstein sent her on a trip without him to take a massage training class in Thailand. There, halfway around the world, she saw an opportunity to break free. She met Robbie, the man she would marry, and told him her story. Nobody ever said you should. Well, somebody should do something about it. And Robbie did. And he goes, you know, you don't have to live like that. Come move to Australia with me, she did, while Epstein continued to recruit and abuse girls. Uncheck. Most of the women we talked to said they never even considered going to the police. I was just too scared. I didn't really want to go, you know, public with it I didn't think about. Going to the police, Jeffrey Epstein's money, power and connections could seem intimidating to his victims. He was always. Bragging about his relationship with Donald Trump. It was never a question of how powerful he was, so it was hard to imagine anything bringing down the Epstein Empire until authorities in Florida got an opportunity to try. It was Palm Beach March 2005. Police got a call from the distraught mother of a 14 year old girl. She said my daughter is having sex, she's a minor and she's having sex with an adult and lives in a mansion in Palm Beach. Michael Ryder is the former chief of the Palm Beach Police. This is his first in-depth television interview detailing what happened inside his department's investigation and the monumental failures that followed. Ryder says his detectives took the case seriously from the start. Our sense was that this is something we've absolutely got to get on. The interview with that first girl led to another what is it that you were told you would have to do? Give him a massage and then another? I have no problem telling you everything I know, all of them telling police strikingly similar stories of abuse. So what else happened? He pulled out this vibrator thing, and then he pulled down my panties. Within a month of the beginning of the investigation, we realized. That this was basically a way of life for Epstein. It didn't take too long to realize that a lot of people were involved in this. This was a very prolific sexual predator. They began watching Epstein's house, went through his trash, and they found phone messages like this one. She's wondering if 2:30 is OK, she needs to stay in school. And this one from model agency owner Jean-Luc Brunel, about a girl. She is 2 * 8 years old. Investigators believed that was code. For 16 and what are those phone messages? What are they talking about? They're about making appointments for girls to come and visit Epstein for massages and sex. And it isn't just the phone messages. Epstein had a flowers delivered to one of the victims who was in a performance at her high school congratulating her at the end of the performance we found in the trash, the report card from one of the victims and. And any thoughts that this didn't happen? This kind of physical evidence drives home that that it did. He used to tell some of the accusers. I own the Palm Beach Police Department. That is ridiculous. I'm sure he thought that he owned the Palm Beach Police Department because frankly, he tried to set us up, Ryder says Epstein had made donations to the Police Department and must have thought that would give him influence he judged wrong. Absolutely. I mean obviously. But as they built a case against Epstein, odd things began happening. Six months in, detectives took a video camera and searched Epstein's home. The chief believes Epstein had been tipped off the place had been cleaned up. Not effectively, because there were still plenty of evidence there. Photographs on the walls, phone messages, and so on. But the video computer was gone and all the wires were left hanging there. Then, he says, something changed. The state prosecutors at the time in Palm Beach County told him the witnesses were problematic and the prosecutors seemed dismissive of the case. Former state attorney Barry Krischer has not responded to requests for comment and has previously said his office acted appropriately. Did you feel that you had a strong case to bring to trial? Oh, absolutely. The chief also says he was surprised by how much Epstein's defense team knew about the investigation before it was public. We believed that the content of our probable cause affidavit eventually, sometime after we presented the State Attorney's Office, ended up with the defense attorneys because minute details that nobody else knew that were in those documents were being refuted and contrary information provided by the defense, and it really cripples the case. Coming up like I don't get to go to court. Why am I not going to court? Jeffrey Epstein makes a deal. Is that a sweetheart deal? I've never seen anything like it when Dateline continues. Hi, I'm chase. I'm a service tech for Dish Network, and I've got a prime scoop. With Dish, you can access your Prime Video account right from the channel guide. OK, that funds aside, if you're anything like me, you've probably gotten multiple streaming services. But with Dish, all the entertainment you love is in one place. Watch all your favorite live and streaming shows on one device with one remote and one login. Think about it. How nice would it be to have the Prime Video app built in? You can instantly jump from live TV to your favorite. Some content so you can go from a live football game to Prime Video, back to the game to check the score, and then back to Prime game, Prime game prime and so on. No changing inputs and no switching remotes. Now that's a prime example of how dish makes TV easy. OK, I'm sorry, that was the last bad pun. I promise. To learn more, call 1844, call Dish visitdish.com, or find a local retailer near you. Prime membership or Prime Video subscription required. See primevideo.com/terms for details. In 2006, Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Ryder was frustrated with how local prosecutors were handling the Epstein investigation. He asked the state attorney to remove himself from the case, and when that didn't happen, the chief turned his evidence over to the FBI and they said this is an easy case, this is a horrific situation. We'll put him away for the rest of his life. The FBI is telling you he's going to go away for the rest of his life for this stuff, yes. And then that's what the US attorney says the US attorneys told us as well. By now Virginia was raising a family on the other side of the world in Australia. She says she didn't know anything about the investigation in Palm Beach until her phone rang one day. It was Glenn Maxwell. I was in shock and she said, listen, have you heard about this investigation going on about Epstein? And I said, no, I don't follow the news. I watched the Wiggles most days and she goes, well, are you going to talk? And I said, well, if I don't know about any investigation going on, then how am I going to talk the next day? She says there was another call. This time it was Epstein with an offer. And he goes, OK, well, we'll take care of you if you don't talk. I don't want your money. I I really don't. I'm living a good life over here. I just want to be left alone, guys. Back in Florida, police chief writer was getting frustrated again, this time by a lack of progress in the FBI case. So we went to see the prosecutor in charge, US Attorney Alex Acosta, who would later be named Secretary of Labor by President Donald Trump. He basically said the defense in this case has successfully delayed and frustrated their investigation and their prosecution of the case. Still, he says Acosta told him his office was moving forward. I left that meeting thinking, well, this guy hopefully is going to do his job. He's telling me he is. But then in 2007, Acosta decided not to charge Epstein in federal court and sent the case back to the local prosecutors, the very same office that rider says dropped the ball in the 1st place. Now Epstein made a deal, pleading guilty to two counts related to prostitution. They're calling the victims prostitutes. Well, that's right, it's not prostitution. No, it's not. That was a horrendous and in some cases violent criminal act victimizing our most vulnerable Epstein had to register as a sex offender. He served 13 months, but most days he was allowed to leave the jail to go to his office. The deal that Epstein ultimately got, was that a sweetheart deal? Well, I've never seen anything like it. I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a prosecutor. I was a police chief. I think police chiefs know the difference between right and wrong, and this case was clearly, to us a very prosecutable case. Perhaps the most unusual part of the deal, federal prosecutors agreed they would not charge any potential Co conspirators. For writer, none of it made sense. How is it possible the system could have failed on so many levels at all the same time? How do you explain that? There is no explanation? I didn't believe it back then. I don't believe it now. It's just unfathomable to me, Alex Acosta has said the US Attorney's office he headed in Florida handled the case appropriately, and he made the deal because the guilty verdict is never a sure thing. Virginia first heard about the deal in 2008. She was in Australia, far away from Epstein, when she got a letter from law enforcement saying she'd been identified as a victim in the now closed case. As she learned more, she started to get angry. She felt cheated, like, I don't get to go to court. Why am I not going to court? And they're like, Oh no, no, no. There's been a deal arranged with the government between him. I was so mind boggled by it. I didn't understand it. In the aftermath of that deal, Epstein's victims filed a slew of civil suits against him. Virginia filed her own suit and received a financial settlement from Epstein. After Gillen, Maxwell called her a liar, Virginia sued her for defamation and received another settlement. Then, in 2011, Virginia decided to talk to a British newspaper and got $160,000 for her story and that photo of her with Prince Andrew. You sold a story to a tabloid newspaper and received a payout. You have a book manuscript that some say you want it to sell. What do you say to those who say this is someone who is trying to sell a very salacious story and benefiting financially from it? Well, that's what the way I thought it was done, and I didn't know that you're supposed to say no. Every single interview after that, I have never taken a dollar for. After her story appeared in the press, FBI agents flew to Australia to interview her. She says they seemed to focus on the people around Epstein. They showed you pictures of people. They showed me a whole big binder of people. I told them I know this person, I know what they've done. And what can we do from there? I thought we were going to get far. But again, federal prosecutors did not bring charges. Virginia says she later spoke to one of the agents on the phone. I said, where's this going? And he said, I'm sorry, my hands are tied. And I know he was heartbroken about that. He told you the investigation is over, he told me. There's nothing more he can do. Little did Virginia and other victims know that everything would change this year. Coming up, where do you think this case is going now? There are still people out there, people that were enabling Epstein. Can these women still get justice? They failed us before. Don't fail us again. After serving 13 months in jail, Jeffrey Epstein was a free man. By the summer of 2009, he spent time flying to his various properties in the US and around the world. He was still in contact with some of his famous friends, including Prince Andrew. And despite his sex offender status, the financier spent time with renowned scientists and gave money to institutions including MIT in Palm Beach, FL. Chief Rider had retired. Did you think about this case often after you left? This was the case that never really left me. Did the justice system fail these victims? Not only in my opinion, but in the opinion of others that have worked a long time in the system, this is the worst. Failure of the criminal justice system that I or they or are aware of in modern times. It turned out writer wasn't the only person in South Florida who hadn't forgotten Jeffrey Epstein. In November 2018, the Miami Herald published an explosive series about Epstein's sexual abuse and the deal that led to that short jail term. And that same month, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York quietly began a new federal investigation. It's likely Epstein never saw what was coming. Jeffrey Epstein, arrested after flying in from Paris, expected to face federal charges related to sex trafficking. I was crying tears of joy, and I was like, screaming he's in jail. I'm so excited you don't. When he was arrested, this when he was arrested, I was like, wow. In July, Epstein was charged with conspiracy and sex trafficking. He pleaded not guilty, but in August, the elation of Epstein's victims became disbelief. There is breaking news out this hour. NBC News has learned that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Epstein, when you heard that Jeffrey Epstein had committed suicide in jail. What was your reaction? I had a nervous breakdown. I started vomiting blood and was ambulance stuff in airplane in Barcelona. Spent two days in a hospital. The women we'd interviewed were joined by two more women who say Epstein abused them. Rachel Benavides and Marika Chartouni all say Epstein's suicide was a gut punch. I felt a lot of conflicting emotions, and I think the overriding one was. Sadness, do you feel let down? That. That's the way it ended for him. For sure I felt cheated at the opportunity to face him in court. I mean, I felt sorry for all of us, really. The criminal case against Epstein was dismissed, but in an extraordinary move, a federal judge gave the women a day in court and heard impact statements from 23 women. What did it mean to stand up in court, to meet each other, to hear other stories? It was such a powerful moment to stand in court. Knowing. How we all had this common experience. And we didn't know each other. But we did. You know, there's an intimacy to that and unspoken bond, and it's like communal grieving. There was profound woman for me. I felt really, really empowered. I really did. And these are like my sisters now, in my mind, you know, really. You guys really are just so brave. My gosh, with that bond came something else, a shared hope. Attorney General William Barr announced that the trafficking investigation did not die with Epstein. Characters should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it. After the suicide, the FBI searched Epstein's private Caribbean island in France, a source tells NBC News. Authorities are looking for Jean-Luc Brunel. He has not been charged and denies wrongdoing. And in New York the investigation continues. Do you feel let down by? The justice system. I don't know if you girls feel the same, but I feel let down. They failed us before. Don't fail us again. Exactly. That's all we're asking. Take us serious. We matter. Where do you think this case is going now? I think that there there should be still some accountability for a lot of the people that were enabling Epstein. You know, there are still people out there like just lane Maxwell, and in recent years, Maxwell had emerged as an environmental activist, so the ocean is the next frontier. She even spoke at the United Nations, a social network around the ocean. But Virginia feels Maxwell is as culpable as Epstein. Himself. Jeffrey had the sickness like they worked together as a unit. I was brought in by Guilan, and at that time, she was the main procurer for Jeffrey. You know, I've actually read her depositions. Galane Maxwell denies ever procuring you, recruiting you. Galine Maxwell denies ever having any kind of sexual contact with you. Elaine Maxwell says she barely remembers you. What do you say to that? I say follow the facts. You don't have to take my voice and believe everything I say, but follow the facts. Look at the flight logs, Gielen. She doesn't want to be embarrassed. She's a socialite. She doesn't want to be held accountable for this. And in her mind, I believe she doesn't think that what she did was wrong. That's the kind of evil monster she is. In addition to Virginia, two other women have publicly accused Maxwell of sexual abuse, incidents detailed in an affidavit. Maxwell, who has vanished from public view, has not been charged with any crime and denies any wrongdoing. As for Prince Andrew after Epstein suicide, he said in a statement. At no stage during the limited time I spent with him did I see, witness or suspect any behavior of the sort that subsequently led to his arrest and conviction. He also reiterated that it was a mistake for him to see Epstein after he was released from jail. And both federal and state authorities are looking into how prosecutors in Florida handled the first Epstein case. As the investigations move forward, retired chief writer says there's value in looking back. Some good has to come out of this case. Laws need to be changed. Someone in authority in both the state of Florida and the United States government has to apologize to the victims and their families for the way that they were treated by prosecutors in South Florida. The women we brought together here persevere. They're strengthened now by a new sisterhood, a solidarity. Forged by their shared survival, this was something that happened to me when I was very vulnerable, very young, and it doesn't define me as a person. It's solidifying. Just how? Twisted and secretive that this whole thing has, has been and was and is not anymore. Hopefully this is a conclusion, a new chapter for us to move on, because we deserve that. Jeffrey thought that we would disposable and he threw us all away and look who's still standing. That's all for this edition of Dateline. We'll see you again next Friday for our two hour season premiere at 98 Central. And of course, I'll see you each weeknight. For NBC Nightly News, I'm Lester Holt. For all of us at NBC News. Good night.