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….
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….
New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers, Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the moral context of trauma science
January 30, 2019 § Leave a comment
New York passes Child Victims Act, allowing child sex abuse survivors to sue their abusers
By Augusta Anthony, CNN Mon January 28, 2019
New York (CNN)The New York State Legislature passed a bill on Monday that will increase the statute of limitations for cases of child sexual abuse.
The Child Victims Act will allow child victims to seek prosecution against their abuser until the age of 55 in civil cases, a significant increase from the previous limit of age 23. For criminal cases, victims can seek prosecution until they turn 28. The bill also includes a one-year window during which victims of any age or time limit can come forward to prosecute.
“New York has just gone from being one of the worst states in the country to being one of the best,” in terms of the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, said Marci Hamilton, CEO of Child USA and a professor at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hamilton said the bill “represents over 15 years of work by survivors and advocates trying to get around the stiff opposition from the Catholic bishops and the insurance industry” and is a step forward in the national conversation. There are eight other states considering similar legislation….
Catholic Church opposition
Monday’s bill passage comes after more than a decade of opposition from the Catholic Church in New York. In a news conference on Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is a Roman Catholic, blamed the church directly for preventing the bill’s passage.
Speaking about why the bill took years to pass, Cuomo said, “I believe it was the conservatives in the Senate who were threatened by the Catholic Church.” The bill passed the Senate unanimously on Monday. In November 2018, Democrats took over the Republican-held Senate….
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination and the moral context of trauma science
Michael Salter Published online: 24 Jan 2019
Download citation https://doi.org/10.1080/15299732.2019.1571858
The fraught process surrounding the recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court was a spectacular deployment of institutional power to suppress good faith allegations of sexual violence. Trauma survivors and their allies have been shaken by the public scorn and victim-blaming that occurred when a childhood acquaintance of Kavanaugh’s, Christine Blasey Ford, alleged she had been sexually assaulted by him while they were at high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegation and US President Donald Trump firmly supported him. The matter only became more heated when, after Ford agreed to testify publicly to the Senate Judiciary Committee, two other women come forward with allegations of sexual assault and improper conduct by Kavanaugh.
The response of Kavanaugh and his supporters was replete with the rhetoric of denial. Kavanaugh variously characterized the allegations as part of a “coordinated effort” and “conspiracy” to destroy his reputation and prevent his nomination. President Trump agreed that the three women describing abuse by Kavanaugh were politically motivated. He went on to suggest that one woman “has nothing” on Kavanaugh because she “admits she was drunk” at the time of the alleged assault. Conservative media commentators speculated that Ford was suffering from “false memories” of rape, or had mistaken her actual attacker for Kavanaugh. Such language, reverberating from the White House and its spokespeople and advocates, represents a sustained campaign of institutional betrayal that only compounds the trauma of sexual assault (Smith & Freyd, 2013 Smith, C. P., & Freyd, J. J. (2013). Dangerous safe havens: Institutional betrayal exacerbates sexual trauma. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 26(1), 119–124. doi:10.1002/jts.21778[Crossref], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar]), consonant with other policy positions that have profoundly traumatised the vulnerable (Smidt & Freyd, 2018 Smidt, A. M., & Freyd, J. J. (2018). Government-mandated institutional betrayal. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 26(5), 491–499.[Taylor & Francis Online], , [Google Scholar]).
The proposition that allegations of sexual violence are motivated by animus or the product of confabulation or “false memories” has a long and shameful history (Campbell, 2003 Campbell, S. (2003). Relational remembering: Rethinking the memory wars. Oxford, UK: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc. [Google Scholar]). Movements against sexual assault and child abuse have routinely been accused of hiding an ideological agenda, or creating the conditions for false allegations by confused women and children. The conflicts surrounding Kavanaugh’s appointment have highlighted the persistence of a culture of disbelief.
However, it is notable that the attempts by Kavanaugh’s supporters to invoke pseudo-scientific explanations for Ford’s allegation found considerably less purchase in the mass media than they might have in the past. Questions about the integrity of Ford’s memory were largely limited to right wing and conservative media, and were rejected in statements from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation and the American Psychological Association. Progress against the institutionalized mechanics of denial and unaccountability is substantive although clearly incomplete (Brand & McEwen, 2016 Brand, B. L., & McEwen, L. (2016). Ethical standards, truths, and lies. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 17(3), 259–266. doi:10.1080/15299732.2016.1114357[Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®], , [Google Scholar])….
While I hesitate to argue that we can read life lessons directly from research findings, it does appear to me that the overall direction of trauma research and treatment trends in a particular moral direction. If we seek to find opportunities for trauma survivors to recover and live well, and if we want to promote the conditions in which people are not traumatised in the first place, then we are necessarily advancing moral propositions about human happiness and flourishing. Research on trauma, recovery and psychological wellbeing consistently finds that human beings thrive when we are embedded in emotionally rich, mutual and equitable relationships. This conclusion furnishes us with a powerful and, I think, very appealing image of a good life – one characterized by dignity, equality, accountability, and shared recognition – that the trauma field should not hesitate in articulating clearly. Political theorist Alford (2016 Alford, C. F. (2016). Trauma, culture, and PTSD. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.[Crossref], , [Google Scholar]) suggests that a key reason for the expanding public interest in trauma science is precisely because the concept of ‘trauma’ provides a rare acknowledgement of human relationality and vulnerability in a culture that is exhaustively individualistic and atomizing.
When a person like Christine Blasey Ford stands up to testify to a traumatic event, in opposition to incredibly powerful forces, we can recognize this as a courageous step in the fulfillment of a moral vision that we also have a stake in. The visceral and hate-filled response that has driven her, and her family, from their home is stark evidence of the cost paid by people who challenge the structures of traumatisation. Such costs have, of course, been visited in the past on trauma therapists and researchers whose ethical and scientific convictions have also bought them into conflict with vested interests. However the tremendous support that rallied around Christine Blasey Ford, and that recognised and celebrated her bravery in stepping forward with her story, indicates a growing consensus that opposes traumatizing social formations and seeks an alternative. Trauma research and theory, I would argue, is well placed to elaborate on what those alternatives might be.
RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn Accused Of Decades Of Sexual Misconduct, Inside the CIA’s cold war ‘mind control’ program
January 31, 2018 Comments Off on RNC Finance Chair Steve Wynn Accused Of Decades Of Sexual Misconduct, Inside the CIA’s cold war ‘mind control’ program
The Las Vegas mogul has been accused of sexually harassing and abusing female employees.
By Antonia Blumberg 01/26/2018
President Donald Trump has called Steve Wynn, seen here in March 2016, a “great friend.”
In Errol Morris’ new series, Wormwood, which blends documentary with dramatic reconstructions, he sets out to explore an episode in the history of US intelligence that is irresistibly sensational, the CIA’s cold war “mind control” program of the 1950s and 1960s.