Acosta’s legal explanation for Epstein’s plea deal doesn’t add up

Second, Acosta failed to adequately explain why the agreement was kept a secret from the victims. A federal court found that the U.S. Attorney’s Office not only failed to tell the victims about the deal, in violation of the federal crime victim law, but that the office deliberately misled the victims into believing that federal charges were still possible many months after the agreement was signed. When asked at the press conference about concealing the truth from the victims, Acosta offered a tortured explanation that if the agreement fell through and the case went to trial, he did not want to compromise the credibility of the victims as witnesses, presumably because they could be portrayed on cross-examination as biased against him because he had failed to fulfill his promise to pay them. But the credibility of victims can be attacked in any case where they stand to receive restitution upon conviction. Moreover, this concern does not outweigh the need to comply with the crime victims law. The logic of Acosta’s explanation falls short here, too.

Third, Acosta did not give a satisfactory explanation for a provision in the agreement that federal prosecutors would not charge Epstein’s co-conspirators. Acosta stated that this provision was included because their focus was on the “top player.” The agreement lists by name some of Epstein’s employees, whom the U.S. Attorney agreed not to charge, but the agreement went on to include “any potential co-conspirators,” a description that could include anyone. The open-ended description prevented prosecution of Epstein’s individual employees, to be sure, but also prevented charges against anyone else who conspired with Epstein, no matter how egregious their conduct.

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