A federal judge formally closed the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday.

Prosecutors previously asked Judge Richard Berman to end the sex trafficking case since Epstein died by suicide earlier this month.

Dismissing an indictment against a deceased individual is typically a formality, but Berman took the unusual step to first schedule a hearing where he invited alleged victims and their lawyers to speak.

On Tuesday, 23 victims testified about the alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein.

His suicide "robbed" his victims of the chance "to confront him one by one" in court, said Courtney Wild, the first accuser to speak at the hearing. "For that, he is a coward."

Wild said Epstein sexually abused her for years.

After Tuesday's hearing, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, and the FBI met with some of the women, thanking them for their bravery and emphasizing that the criminal investigation into the accused sex trafficker's potential enablers is ongoing, according to four people with knowledge of the meeting.

The end of the criminal case does not affect any civil claims brought by victims against Epstein's estate, or the federal grand jury investigation into circumstances surrounding his death in the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10.