Justice Department Investigating Attorneys' Actions in Epstein Case
Alexander Acosta, the current U.S. secretary of Labor, was Miami's top federal prosecutor when he agreed in 2007 to allow multimillionaire defendant accused of coercing underage girls into sex acts at his Florida mansion to plead guilty only to two prostitution charges in state court, the Miami Herald reported in November 2018.
The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has opened an investigation into allegations that DOJ attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in their handling of a criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire defendant accused of coercing underage girls into sex acts at his Florida mansion. Alexander Acosta, the current U.S. secretary of Labor, was Miami's top federal prosecutor when he agreed in 2007 to allow Epstein to plead guilty only to two prostitution charges in state court, the Miami Herald reported on Nov. 28, 2018.
The newspaper's Julie K. Brown reported that Acosta agreed to the non-prosecution agreement during a breakfast meeting in October 2007 with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz, who represented Epstein. The 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," Brown reported, citing emails, court documents, and FBI records as sources. As part of the plea deal, Epstein provided what the government called "valuable consideration" for unspecified information he supplied to federal investigators. The information may have been related to a case against two executives at Bear Stearns, the investment brokerage that failed in 2008, she reported.
The agreement required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges; the agreement also granted immunity to "any potential co-conspirators" who were also involved in Epstein's crimes.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent two letters in December 2018 and January 2019 to Corey Amundson, director of OPR, urging him to investigate the federal attorneys' handling of the Epstein case in light of the newspaper's reporting. Sasse announced Feb. 6 that DOJ had indeed opened the investigation, with Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd of DOT’s Office of Legislative Affairs confirming this by letter to Sasse.
"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. "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. Parents should be grateful for the men and women at the DOJ who are committed to transparency and accountability and for the soon-to-be attorney general who is committed to pursuing justice."
He was referring to William Barr, nominated to be the new U.S. attorney general. The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Barr's nomination in a 12-10 vote Feb. 7, sending it on for consideration by the full Senate.