US Virgin Islands fires attorney general in Epstein cases

FILE - This image provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows financier Jeffrey Epstein, on July 25, 2013. A statement released on Sunday, Jan 1, 2023, by the governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, relieved of her duties the attorney general who pursued various cases against disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, including a lengthy legal fight that resulted in a $105 million settlement. (Florida Department of Law Enforcement via AP File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands has fired the attorney general of the U.S. territory who pursued various cases against disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, including a lengthy legal fight that resulted in a $105 million settlement.

The removal of Denise George comes just days after she filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase in New York and accused the company of helping Epstein finance the illegal exploitation of women and children in the U.S. Virgin Islands and beyond.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. did not provide a reason for relieving George of her duties in a statement Sunday, saying only that she would be replaced by Assistant Attorney General Carol Thomas-Jacobs.

Governor spokesman Richard Motta did not return a message for comment, nor did executive assistant to the attorney general Jennifer Springette.

In the lawsuit filed against JPMorgan Chase on Dec. 27, the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands alleges the company “knowingly facilitated, sustained, and concealed the human trafficking network operated by Jeffrey Epstein from his home and base in the Virgin Islands, and financially benefited from this participation, directly or indirectly, by failing to comply with federal banking regulations.”

It also alleges that the company concealed wire and cash transactions.

“Human trafficking was the principal business of the accounts Epstein maintained at JP Morgan,” the lawsuit reads. “JP Morgan turned a blind eye to evidence of human trafficking over more than a decade because of Epstein’s own financial footprint, and because of the deals and clients that Epstein brought and promised to bring to the bank.”

A JPMorgan Chase spokeswoman declined comment in a message Tuesday to The Associated Press.

On Dec. 30, JPMorgan Chase asked that a federal judge throw out lawsuits filed by two unidentified women alleging that big banks should have seen evidence of Epstein’s sex trafficking. The bank also said it didn’t commit any negligent acts.

The lawsuit that George filed against JPMorgan Chase comes after Epstein’s estate reached the $105 million settlement with the U.S. Virgin Island’s government in late November.

The Virgin Islands Daily News, a local newspaper, reported that Epstein had made various donations to schools and organizations across the U.S. territory, and that the island’s former first lady was the office manager for one of his companies, Southern Trust. It also noted that Bryan, the governor, had granted Epstein’s company various hefty tax exemptions when he served as chairman of the Economic Development Commission.

In the previous lawsuit, George, the former attorney general, alleged that Southern Trust Company was used as a cover for Epstein’s illegal activities.

Epstein killed himself at a federal jail in New York in August 2019 while awaiting trial. He had pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually abusing dozens of girls, some as young as 14 years old.