Jeffrey Epstein, billionaire and registered sex offender, was arrested over the weekend (again) on federal child sex trafficking charges. Although Epstein may finally face real justice for his crimes there is one person who seems to be escaping justice – the man who helped him secure his plea deal in 2008, US Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta.
In 2008 Epstein was arrested for recruiting young girls age 13-16. He would pay the girls for “massages” then would molest or sexually abuse them. Epstein would also manipulate some of the girls to go out and become recruiters themselves.
Epstein should have faced up to 45 years in prison but instead, thanks to a “sweetheart plea deal”, Acosta, who was the US attorney for Southern Florida at the time, agreed not to file federal charges against him if he plead guilty to minor charges of soliciting prostitution and soliciting a minor for prostitution.
What should have been 45 years in prison turned into an 18-month sentence in county jail, of which Epstein only served 13 months.
Even worse, the agreement was kept from many of Epstein’s victims, leading two women to file a lawsuit against the federal government for violating the Crime Victims Rights Act. The deal offered immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” yet did not give victims the opportunity to object to it.
In February a federal judge ruled that Acosta and the rest of the Florida prosecutors did indeed break the law and violated the Crime Victims Rights Act when they arranged a plea deal for Epstein.
This week Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors, once again facing up to 45 years in prison. As a result, there has been an uprising of voices calling for Acosta to step down as Secretary of Labor. You see, Alex Acosta secured this outrageous – and illegal – deal for Epstein, yet now as US Secretary of Labor, he is responsible for monitoring human trafficking.
During his confirmation hearing in 2017, Acosta was asked about the Epstein deal. “At the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within the prosecutor’s office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes, is a good thing,” was his response.
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into Acosta’s handling of the plea deal and the White House has also promised to look into Acosta’s role in the case. Several members of Congress have also sent a letter to President Trump demanding Acosta’s registration.