A British actress publicly identified herself as a victim of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein for the first time in court Tuesday.
Anouska De Georgiou appeared alongside 15 other women in a Manhattan court to implore U.S. District Judge Richard Berman and prosecutors to go after those who allegedly conspired and enabled Epstein’s crimes. De Georgiou, who starred alongside Jude Law in the 2004 film “Alfie,” claims she was a teenager when she was introduced to the late billionaire.
“When I was introduced to Jeffrey Epstein, I was young and full of hope and the foolishness of a teenager. I was idealistic, and I saw the good in people,” she said in court, according to the New York Post. “The abuse, spanning several years, was devaluing beyond measure and affected my ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, both in my work and my personal life.”
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The actress did not go into detail about the abuse she allegedly experienced but noted that the effects stayed with her for years.
“I was a victim, and it has taken me many, many years to stand here and say, yes, it was me,” she said. “I was a victim, but I will not remain a victim and be silent for one more day. Although I think it’s tragic when anybody dies before their time, I’m extremely relieved that Jeffrey Epstein will not be in a position to hurt any more children or any more women, and I’m glad to be part of a group of women who are now bonded forever in the trauma that we endured at the hands of this man.”
I was a victim, and it has taken me many, many years to stand here and say, yes, it was me
Berman heard from more than a dozen alleged accusers as he weighed whether to officially dismiss charges against the disgraced financier.
Berman called 66-year-old Epstein’s suicide a “rather stunning turn of events.”
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A New York City coroner ruled that Epstein hanged himself in his cell.
One of Epstein’s lawyers, Martin Weinberg, challenged that ruling during Tuesday’s hearing, telling the judge that an expert hired by the defense determined that broken bones in his neck were “more consistent with pressure … with homicide” than suicide. He urged Berman to “find out what happened to our client.”
Prosecutors jumped in, arguing that the manner of Epstein’s death was “completely irrelevant to the purpose of today’s proceeding.” Berman, however, responded: “Well, I don’t know … I think it’s fair game for defense counsel to raise its concerns.”
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Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, N.Y., on Aug. 10, as he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges involving underage girls. He had been placed on suicide watch weeks earlier, on July 23, after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises around his neck.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.