The Latest: Judge: Epstein accusers’ accounts ‘relevant’

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on a hearing in the Jeffrey Epstein case (all times local):

10:55 a.m.

A federal judge in New York is giving Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers a chance to speak at a hearing involving the late financier’s sex trafficking case.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said at a hearing that got underway on Tuesday morning that Epstein’s Aug. 10 suicide was a “stunning turn of events.”

He said accusers have been included in the hearing “because of their relevant experiences.”

Up to 30 women were expected to address the court along with prosecutors and Epstein lawyers.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

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1:25 a.m.

Up to 30 women were expected to take a judge up on his invitation to speak at a hearing after financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself before facing sex trafficking charges.

The hearing Tuesday morning was scheduled last week by U.S. District Judge Richard Berman. Berman presided over the case prosecutors brought against Epstein after the 66-year-old convicted felon was arrested July 6. A New York City coroner has formally classified the death a suicide. He died Aug. 10.

The judge set the hearing after prosecutors asked that he scrap charges against Epstein since the defendant is dead. Berman said he would give prosecutors, Epstein lawyers and any victims a chance to speak.

Epstein had pleaded not guilty to charges he sex trafficked women in the early 2000s.

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