How Epstein's secret deal could affect sex trafficking case

Cheryl Sanders
July 10, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have called for Acosta to resign from his cabinet post.

The new case charges Epstein with the federal crimes of sex trafficking and conspiracy, and a conviction could put him in prison for 45 years.

Federal sex trafficking charges were brought against Epstein on Monday, raising new questions about Acosta's handling of a related case in Florida in 2008.

Epstein's case drew renewed attention earlier this year after the Miami Herald reported the plea deal and his alleged victims' ongoing struggle for justice amid the #MeToo movement that has unveiled sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men.

In a late-Monday tweet Pelosi said: "As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice". She noted that she did not support his nomination as President Donald Trump's Labor secretary: "I didn't vote for former Florida U.S. Attorney Acosta to begin with and he should step down". According to the report, Epstein, 66, allegedly "sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls" at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida. "In terms of double jeopardy, the state and federal systems are separate, and a prosecution for a state-law offense does not preclude the federal government from bringing charges", said Arlo Devlin-Brown, the former chief of the public corruption unit at SDNY and a partner at Covington & Burling LLP.

"The second part of the agreement at issue states: "... on authority of R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, prosecution in this District for these offences shall be deferred in favour of prosecution by the State of Florida...." During a news conference, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, also revealed they discovered hundreds of suggestive photographs in Epstein's Manhattan mansion, including those of underage girls.

Acosta's statement comes as the Trump administration official faces increased scrutiny for the deal he helped orchestrate in 2008 when Epstein was accused of other sex crimes.

"I'm hoping we're all being attentive to who the acceptable perpetrator is right here", she said.

The victims had been tantalizing his non-prosecution settlement in Florida. The accusers maintain till Monday to reply to the federal filing.

"Epstein should have been behind bars years ago but unfortunately Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta cut Epstein a sweetheart deal", Schumer said.

Epstein's political connections consist of President Donald Trump and frail President Invoice Clinton.

Another former SDNY prosecutor said she believed that, while Epstein's attorneys are not likely to make a successful argument in court that the agreement applies to the NY district, they could make that appeal to the deputy attorney general. "But you're talking about a long time ago".

"I had a falling out with him a long time ago", Trump said without elaborating. "It's miles even said that he likes stunning girls as remarkable as I maintain, and a lot of them are on the youthful aspect".

On Tuesday, Trump instructed reporters "he will not be a fan" of Epstein's.

That agreement says there will be no prosecution of Epstein "in this district" - meaning the Southern District of Florida - though it doesn't include language specifically precluding other districts from prosecuting him, an addition that is common in such documents. "No doubt about it - Jeffrey enjoys his social life".

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