Jeffrey Epstein is finally out of luck

Epstein’s team secured the deal of the millennium, one utterly unlike anything else I’ve seen in 25 years of practicing federal criminal law. Epstein agreed to plead guilty to state charges, register as a sex offender, and spend 13 months in county jail, during which time he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, 6 days a week, out of the jail on “work release.” In exchange, the Southern District of Florida abandoned its criminal investigation of Epstein’s conduct, agreed not to prosecute him federally, and—incredibly—agreed not to prosecute anyone else who helped him procure underage girls for sex. This is not normal; it is astounding…

Epstein’s miraculous 2008 non-prosecution agreement likely to spare him. Every federal plea agreement I’ve ever seen includes a clause saying that it binds only the U.S. Attorney’s Office signing it, not any other office. Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement conspicuously, and very oddly, lacks that clause—which further demonstrates the suspicious nature of the deal. But as the federal defense attorney Mark Bennett points out, the agreement promises only that no prosecution would be instituted “in this District”—that is, the Southern District of Florida. That detail, combined with federal law governing such agreements, likely means that no court will stop the Southern District of New York from prosecuting Epstein, especially given allegations that his sexual abuse of minors took place in New York as well as in Florida.

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