Balderas believes previous investigations failed Epstein's alleged NM victims | KOB 4
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Balderas believes previous investigations failed Epstein's alleged NM victims

Patrick Hayes, Chris Ramirez
July 16, 2019 09:52 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas believes other agencies that were investigating financier Jeffery Epstein for child sex crimes have failed in the past.

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“What I'm very concerned with is that these victims and survivors were not given a voice early on in the investigation, and we want to make sure we capture their story and that we do everything we can to bring justice for them,” Balderas said.

Following charges being filed in New York, Balderas said he has reached out to some of Epstein’s alleged victims.

“What I can confirm is that we are interviewing many survivors and victims,” Balderas said. “I can't comment as to the specific nature at this time."

Balderas is investigating what happened at Epstein’s ranch in Stanley, New Mexico-- and other parts of the state.

More than a decade ago, Epstein was accused of sex crimes involving underage girls in New Mexico.

However, he was never formally charged.

"This was a multi-state trafficking operation and there were great risks that were ignored in the pasts,” Balderas said.

STATE LAW 

As part of a 2008 plea deal federal prosecutors gave to Epstein – he was required to register as a sex offender. It's unknown whether Epstein registered with New Mexico authorities while he lived in the state, or if state laws required that he register. 

"I tried to strengthen registry laws last year. This is a black eye for the state of New Mexico," Balderas said. "But considering this case, we do believe the New Mexico legislature will hopefully reconsider strengthening protections for children." 

BILL RICHARDSON CONNECTION 

Tuesday morning, the Albuquerque Journal reported former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's spokesman confirmed Richardson had visited Epstein's Zorro Ranch at least one time while campaigning for governor with his wife in 2002. 

The Journal reported Richardson's name was found in Epstein's "little black book," which is now filed as a court record. Richardson is on a witness list that also includes President Donald Trump. 

When asked whether the New Mexico Attorney General's Office was looking at the Richardson connection, Balderas said he couldn't elaborate on specific details about the scope of the investigation. 

"It's premature for me to comment on the specifics. What I can ensure you is the investigation is active and we will be forwarding this evidence to New York prosecutors," Balderas said. 

Credits

Patrick Hayes, Chris Ramirez

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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