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Former Attorney General Denise George on Monday issued a statement following her termination by Governor Albert Bryan last month, calling on the administration to continue litigation she filed against JPMorgan Chase that accuses the banking institution of facilitating convicted felon Jeffrey Epstein's abuse of women and girls.
The lawsuit claims the bank should have known about Epstein’s illegal activity and as part of its anti-money laundering procedures, should have reported their client to authorities.
George accused the bank of turning a blind eye to the sex trafficking operations that went on on Epstein’s private island in the USVI, Little St. James.
“There is still important work to be pursued to ensure that the entities and individuals who participated in Epstein’s sex trafficking operations are held accountable irrespective of their political or economic power or stature," she said in a statement. "That is why I stand firm in my belief that the lawsuit I filed against JPMorgan Chase in our pursuit of justice must continue. No institution, organization or person should be off-limits, no matter how wealthy or powerful. The people are owed justice."
Ms. George was fired on Dec. 31 after serving four years with the Bryan administration, the Consortium first reported. Mr. Bryan subsequently issued a statement on the termination, thanking Ms. George for her time as attorney general of the territory.
A person with knowledge of the termination told the Consortium that Ms. George was fired after filing the lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase — one of the most influential and the largest bank in America — without first informing Governor Bryan of such a major action. People familiar with the situation said Mr. Bryan had been frustrated with Ms. George for sometime and that her action against the bank, without informing him, was the final straw.
On Monday, Ms. George thanked Mr. Bryan for appointing her and the Legislature for confirming the appointment. “I thank Governor Albert Bryan, Jr. for appointing me as the Attorney General, the Legislature of the Virgin Islands for confirming my nomination, and the many people of the Virgin Islands for their encouragement and support. When I first took office in 2019, I made an oath to uphold our laws and administer justice fairly, without fear or favor. Now as I stand at the end of my tenure, my heart is filled with gratitude for having had the honor to uphold that oath and to serve the people of the Virgin Islands," she said.
The former AG spoke of her efforts against Jeffrey Epstein, who had considerable operations in the USVI, including private islands, and the resulting outcome of a $105 million settlement. “We worked relentlessly to secure justice and fairness for the many sex trafficking victims of Jeffrey Epstein, including through the victim compensation program that has helped so many people affected by his crimes. We also won the largest financial settlement in the Virgin Islands’ history of more than $105 million dollars, plus a guarantee that 50 percent of the sale of Little St. James will go to the Virgin Islands’ government," she said.
She added, “The Epstein anti-criminal enterprise lawsuit brought accountability for their sex trafficking operation of girls and women and Epstein’s fraudulent acquisition of over 80 million dollars in tax benefits from the Virgin Islands. Now those funds can be applied to programs that provide services to assist victims of sexual assault, sex trafficking and child abuse and sexual exploitation in the Virgin Islands, along with other purposes that serve the public good, health and safety.
“The Virgin Islands Attorney General, as in everywhere else in the United States, is required to prosecute or pursue legal action for violations of the law, and to serve the people. We are to administer justice fairly and impartially without political influence or interference. Doing the job of the Attorney General should not be incompatible with holding the job of Attorney General.”
Carol Thomas-Jacobs, chief deputy attorney general at the V.I. Dept. of Justice has been tapped as acting A.G. following Ms. George's termination.