Justice Department opens probe into Jeffrey Epstein plea deal, How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime

February 7, 2019 § Leave a comment

Justice Department opens probe into Jeffrey Epstein plea deal
By Julie K. Brown February 06, 2019

The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta’s role in negotiating a controversial plea deal with a wealthy New York investor accused of molesting more than 100 underage girls in Palm Beach.

The probe is in response to a request by Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was critical of the case following a series of stories in the Miami Herald. The Herald articles detailed how Acosta, then the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, and other DOJ attorneys worked hand-in-hand with defense lawyers to cut a lenient plea deal with multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.

The Herald’s three-part series, Perversion of Justice, was cited by Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd in his letter to Sasse. DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility will head the investigation, he said.

“OPR has now opened an investigation into allegations that department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal matter was resolved,’’ wrote Boyd in the letter dated Wednesday.

“Jeffrey Epstein is a child rapist and there’s not a single mom or dad in America who shouldn’t be horrified by the fact that he received a pathetically soft sentence,’’ Sasse said on Wednesday. “The victims of Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring deserve this investigation — and so do the American people and the members of law enforcement who work to put these kinds of monsters behind bars.’’

Former Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter — who pressured Acosta and former Palm Beach state prosecutor Barry Krischer to more aggressively prosecute Epstein — said he would like to see Epstein’s victims finally receive some form of justice.

“I hope that the Department of Justice investigation answers the questions of why this case was handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in the way that it was, and may it somehow result in justice and an apology by the government for the victims and their families,’’ Reiter said.

The case has raised fundamental questions about whether well-connected, wealthy people wield influence over prosecutors and others in the justice system. Epstein had a wide circle of powerful friends, including Bill Clinton, President Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, lawyer Alan Dershowitz and a former prime minister of Israel, Ehud Barak….

Epstein, 66, could have faced a possible life sentence for sex trafficking, but instead was secretly granted federal immunity, along with others who were part of the conspiracy, some of whom were named, others not.

Epstein was suspected by the FBI of running an international sex trafficking operation involving minors, and federal prosecutors had drafted a 53-page indictment that was shelved after Acosta signed off on a non-prosecution agreement in September 2007.

For months after the deal was executed, federal prosecutors kept Epstein’s victims in the dark, and the FBI led some of them to believe the investigation was ongoing. Most of the girls, ages 13 to 16 at the time, found out about the plea bargain only after learning about it on television when Epstein was sentenced in June 2008.

Acosta agreed to seal the agreement and keep it from Epstein’s victims so that the girls couldn’t try to derail it before he was sentenced, the Herald found.

Epstein’s agreement called for him to serve 18 months in the Palm Beach County jail and to register as a sex offender. But even in jail, Epstein received liberal work release privileges that required him to spend little time in a cell. Six days a week, he was picked up at the jail by his private driver and driven to an office in downtown West Palm Beach, where he spent up to 12 hours a day greeting friends, lawyers and several young women who were named by federal prosecutors as participants in his sex trafficking scheme….

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article225624945.html

How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime
BY Julie K. Brown Nov. 28, 2018

….His client, Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of Palm Beach police found.

The eccentric hedge fund manager, whose friends included former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, was also suspected of trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties at his other homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Caribbean, FBI and court records show.

Facing a 53-page federal indictment, Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life.

But on the morning of the breakfast meeting, a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.

Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of thousands of emails, court documents and FBI records.

The pact required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four of his accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges. But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators’’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes. These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.

As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it….
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html

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