This has been a long time coming but maybe we’re finally going to see this horrible plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein fall apart. From Politico:
U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra said Thursday that prosecutors violated the Crime Victims Rights Act by failing to notify victims before signing off on the arrangement, under which federal prosecutors promised not to prosecute Epstein in federal court if he pleaded guilty to a pair of prostitution-related offenses in a Florida state court.
“Petitioners and the other victims should have been notified of the Government’s intention to take that course of action before it bound itself under the NPA,” or nonprosecution agreement, Marra wrote.
Marra criticized federal prosecutors for not only hiding the agreement from the victims but also misleading them about the state of the case.
“Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the NPA and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility,” the judge wrote.
There’s a current political angle to this story which is that the man who made this disastrous agreement with Epstein’s attorneys is Trump’s Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. So maybe there’s a reason some on the left are suddenly interested in this after years of not caring. But as I’ve said before: Who cares? What matters here is that there’s no way to justify this garbage agreement except as a gift to a billionaire who paid dozens of teen girls for sexual massages (and more in some cases). At the time the agreement was made, there were already more than 50 victims and it was clear more could be found in time some of them just 14-years-old. From the Miami Herald, here’s the slap on the wrist that Epstein’s dream team of lawyers worked out with Acosta:
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.
That last bit is the part the judge ruled was illegal today. But the worst part of this is that the prostitution charge Epstein agreed to involved a 14-year-old:
Epstein admitted to committing only one offense against one underage girl, who was labeled a prostitute, even though she was 14, which is well under the age of consent — 18 in Florida…
“There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Under federal law, it’s called child sex trafficking — whether Epstein pimped them out to others or not. It’s still a commercial sex act — and he could have been jailed for the rest of his life under federal law,” she said.
This agreement made no sense from top to bottom. It essentially allowed Epstein to pay off his victims rather than serve serious time for child sex trafficking. Sec. Acosta should be held to account for his direct involvement in making this deal.