An investigation has been opened by The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) into the very generous plea bargain awarded in 2007 by a top Florida prosecutor to Jeffrey Epstein. The Clinton-connected financier and sex offender who abused underage sex slaves and ran a sexual pyramid scheme, using young girls to recruit other girls
Michael Horowitz should be spearheading the investigation, rather than OPR — which is run by internal agency lawyers, watchdog groups say.
Horowitz just this week urged lawmakers to pass a legislation that would enable the IG’s office to take full control of probes into possible prosecutorial misconduct.
Alexander Acosta negotiated the potentially corrupt plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein when he was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
The arrangement required Jeffrey Epstein to pay restitution to dozens of
Epstein operated a sex ring at his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, a residence in New York City, and his private island estate on the 72-acre Virgin Islands home known as “Orgy Island.”
He only served 13 months in jail and registered as a sex offender after pleading guilty to two felony prostitution charges, with only one involving a girl that prosecutors labeled a prostitute — even though she was only 14 years old.
Nebraska Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, who pushed for the probe, said in a statement Wednesday:
“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.”
“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.”
The plea deal awarded to Jeffrey Epstein guaranteed immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” of Epstein — a provision that signaled prosecutors’ willingness to effectively end the federal investigation into potential crimes committed by Epstein associates.
Not only that the deal was kept under seal.
This meant any potential victims would have difficulty finding out about it and objecting to its terms. Some reportedly only found out about the deal from hearing about in news reports later.
In a letter to Sasse, the Justice Department said it would specifically review whether any federal prosecutors had committed “professional misconduct” and promised a “thorough” investigation.
“[The Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility] (OPR) has now opened an investigation into allegations that Department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal matter was resolved,” the DOJ said in its letter to Sasse. “OPR will thoroughly investigate the allegations of misconduct that have been raised and, consistent with its practice, will share its results with you at the conclusion of its investigation as appropriate.”
Last year, Sen. Chuck Grassley introduced legislation that would permit the independent IG to review allegations of attorney misconduct instead of OPR,
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved it by voice vote.
The Inspector General Access Act is now pending before the
“Misconduct by DOJ attorneys is a serious matter and should be investigated by an independent Inspector General, not by other Department attorneys, so there is no real or perceived conflict of interest,” Grassley said in a statement last June. “This bill ensures that the Justice Department’s inspector general is able to access and independently evaluate allegations of misconduct by Justice Department attorneys.”
Jeremy Funk, a spokesman for the watchdog group Allied Progress,
announced Wednesday it is embarking on a marketing blitz this week, targeted at lawmakers, to push for the swift passage of the Inspector General Access Act.
“Secretary Acosta doesn’t just believe it was appropriate to let a wealthy, connected man involved in rampant child sex abuse walk away with a slap on the wrist, he actually considers it a ‘point of pride’ – even worse, a ‘good thing.”
“While it’s certainly a good thing someone with such a weak dedication to justice is no longer a U.S. Attorney, Acosta still must answer for his gross misconduct during that time. All eyes are on the Senate to stop stalling, stop blindly protecting the Trump administration and give the Inspector General the authority he has asked for. The ball is currently in Senate Judiciary Chairman Graham’s court. Senators will continue to hear from constituents if Graham drops it.”
Funk added: “It remains troubling that someone like Alex Acosta with a clear lack of judgement is serving as the nation’s Labor Secretary and is in a position make more decisions that benefit the powerful at the expense of the powerless, but on a much larger scale.”
Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine in 2017 asked Acosta about the plea deal given to Epstein during his confirmation hearings.
“Why cut a non-prosecution deal despite your staff saying you shouldn’t?” Kaine asked.
“That is not accurate,” Acosta, who at the time was dean of Florida International University’s law school, responded.
Acosta said that despite proving all of the allegations against Jeffrey Epstein would be difficult. he pushed to escalate Epstein’s case to the federal level.
“It was highly unusual where a U.S. attorney becomes involved in a matter that has already gone to the grand jury at the state level,” Acosta told senators. “We decided that Mr. Epstein should plead guilty to two years, register as a sexual offender, and concede liability so the victims should get restitution in this matter.”
When asked why the deal was kept confidential, Acosta suggested that he was following common practice.
“Something that I think has changed over time is trust of government,” he said. “There was a time when keeping something confidential was less of an issue, but the public expectation today is that things be very public.”
In December, numerous young women who said they were sexually abused by Epstein reached a settlement in their civil case. This means they would no longer appear set to testify against Epstein.
This gets a lot of people off the hook, Court documents obtained in 2016 showed former President Bill Clinton took at least 26 trips flying aboard Epstein’s private jet, known as the “Lolita Express,” and apparently ditched his Secret Service detail on some of the excursions.
Authorities who seized trash outside Epstein’s home at the time found an invoice for the purchase of the book “SlaveCraft: Roadmaps for Erotic Servitude — Principles, Skills and Tools,” as well as the instructional “Training with Miss Abernathy: A Workbook for Erotic Slaves and Their Owners.”
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