Ben Sasse to DOJ Head: You Need to Investigate Your Agency For 'Potential Misconduct,' Letting Child Rapist Walk Free

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Posted: Dec 04, 2018 11:35 PM
Ben Sasse to DOJ Head: You Need to Investigate Your Agency For 'Potential Misconduct,' Letting Child Rapist Walk Free

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) sent a letter on Monday to Department of Justice Inspector General asking for an investigation into a plea agreement the DOJ entered into with child rapist Jeffrey Epstein. 

Sasse's letters comes on the heals of a Miami Herald piece about a hedge fund manager turned rapist. According to the Herald, Epstein paid $200 to $300 to 103 young girls in order for them to give him a massage. It quickly turned sexual and rumors swirled around the local high school. 

The ordeal began in 2001 and went on for years. Epstein was accused of forcing the minors to give him a massage which "led to masturbation, oral sex, intercourse and other sex acts, police and court records show."

Although they had more than enough evidence in 2007 to prosecute Epstein, prosecutors struck a deal with him, the Miami Herald reported.

In 2007, despite ample physical evidence and multiple witnesses corroborating the girls’ stories, federal prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers quietly put together a remarkable deal for Epstein, then 54. He agreed to plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges in state court, and in exchange, he and his accomplices received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life.

He served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade. His alleged co-conspirators, who helped schedule his sex sessions, were never prosecuted.

The deal, called a federal non-prosecution agreement, was sealed so that no one — not even his victims — could know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes and who else was involved. The U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, was personally involved in the negotiations, records, letters and emails show.

Acosta is now a member of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet. As U.S. secretary of labor, he has oversight over international child labor laws and human trafficking and had recently been mentioned as a possible successor to former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned under pressure in early November. It was reported on Thursday, a day after this story posted online, that he was no longer in the running.

Even more details about the deal:

In 2007, the FBI had prepared a 53-page federal indictment charging Epstein with sex crimes that could have put him in federal prison for life. But then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta signed off on a non-prosecution agreement, which was negotiated, signed and sealed so that no one would know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes. The indictment was shelved, never to be seen again.

Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser charges in state court, and was required to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to 18 months incarceration.

But Epstein — who had a long list of powerful, politically connected friends — didn’t go to state prison like most sex offenders in Florida. Instead, the multimillionaire was assigned to a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, where he was able to hire his own security detail. Even then, he didn’t spend much time in a cell. He was allowed to go to his downtown West Palm Beach office for work release, up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, records show. 

He was permitted to hire his own private psychologist for his required sex-offender counseling, and after his release from jail, his subsequent year of probation under house arrest was filled with trips on his corporate jet to Manhattan and to his home in the U.S. Virgin Islands — all approved by the courts with no objections from the state.

On the morning of his sentencing in 2008, none of Epstein’s victims were in the courtroom to protest his soft jail term or the unusual provisions of his incarceration and probation — and that was by design.

Emails and letters contained in court filings reveal the cozy, behind-the-scenes dealings between federal prosecutors and Epstein’s indomitable legal team during the run-up to his federal plea deal, as they discussed ways to minimize his criminal charges and avoid informing the girls about the details of the deal until after the case was resolved.

That arrangement benefited Epstein in a number of ways. Unlike other high-profile sex crime cases, federal prosecutors agreed to keep his sentencing quiet, thereby limiting media coverage. His underage victims — identified in FBI documents — weren’t told about the plea deal so they weren’t in court, where they could voice their objections and possibly sway the judge to give Epstein a harsher sentence or reject the agreement altogether.

Most important, Epstein’s crimes would be reduced to felony prostitution charges, giving him the ability to argue that the girls weren’t victims at all — they were prostitutes.

Sen. Sasse said he wants an investigation opened into the handling of Epstein's case to see if any misconduct took place on the part of DOJ employees. He's asking for a written response by Friday.