Convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is back in the headlines.
Epstein is “a money manager to the super-wealthy” who has used his fortune and famous friends to avoid much more serious jail time for his crimes, which include molesting underage girls.
Last week, a multi-part expose by the Miami Herald revealed that President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who was Miami’s top federal prosecutor at the time, was instrumental in ensuring Epstein received an “extraordinary plea agreement” in 2007.
Epstein faced potentially spending the rest of his life in federal prison for being accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls at his Florida mansion between 2001 and 2006. The Miami Herald “identified about 80 women who say they were molested or otherwise sexually abused by Epstein” during that period.
Instead, with Acosta’s help, he spent a little over a year in a county jail.
The Miami Herald’s revelations, in addition to recent movement in civil cases later brought against him, have brought Epstein back into the mainstream press.
The 65-year-old — who counted Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and actors Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey among his acquaintances — has clearly received preferential legal treatment due to his millions and friends in high places.
Epstein was friends with U.S. presidents
Before Epstein was accused of “trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties,” he counted two of the five living U.S. presidents as his associates.
Jeffrey Epstein and Donald Trump at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida in 1997. (Davidoff Studios/Getty Images)
Trump told New York Magazine about his relationship with Epstein in 2002.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said at the time. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it: Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Clinton, the former Democratic president who was impeached for lying about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, reportedly “took at least 26 flights, not 11 as first believed” on Epstein’s private jet, which was called the “Lolita Express.”
Epstein also counted Prince Andrew, part of the British royal family, numerous high-powered businessmen and attorneys, and actors Woody Allen and Kevin Spacey — who have been accused of sexual misconduct with underaged girls and boys — as acquaintances.
Epstein should have spent the rest of his life in prison
There is a lot of proof that Epstein ran and financed what was described as “a sex pyramid scheme” — often involving underaged girls — according to a Florida detective who investigated the case.
“The common interview with a girl went like this: ‘I was brought there by so and so. I didn’t feel comfortable with what happened, but I got paid well, so I was told if I didn’t feel comfortable, I could bring someone else and still get paid,” said former Palm Beach police detective Joseph Recarey.
According to a police report obtained by the Miami Herald, “girls — mostly 13 to 16 — were lured to” Epstein’s mansion by people “who went to malls, house parties and other places where girls congregated, and told recruits that they could earn $200 to $300 to give a man — Epstein — a massage.
Nonetheless, Epstein was only required to plead guilty to one count of soliciting prostitution from an underaged girl in 2008. This “extraordinary plea agreement” forced him to register as a sex offender and reach financial settlements with many of his accused victims, but kept him out of federal prison for the rest of his life.
Epstein’s legal team included Alan Dershowitz, the prominent attorney who has become an outspoken supporter of Trump, and Ken Starr, who led the Whitewater investigation of Clinton and later resigned as president of Baylor University after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct were handled by the school.
The Miami Herald also explained how Epstein’s plea agreement shielded him from his victims.
As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.
As a result, Epstein’s crimes reportedly weren’t known to most until years later. He has “settled lawsuits from more than 30 ‘Jane Doe’ victims since 2008; the youngest alleged victim was 12 years old at the time of her abuse.”
The convicted sex offender cuts another deal Jeffrey Epstein and Pepe Fanjul in New York, New York on September 28, 2005. (Joe Schildhorn/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
On Tuesday, Epstein reportedly “struck a last-minute deal to avoid an unrelated civil trial that would have allowed some of his victims to finally testify against him in open court.”
The lawsuit argues that concealing the true nature of Epstein’s plea agreement from some of his victims violated their rights “under a federal law that says crime victims must be informed about plea bargains.”
This week was supposed to provide a long-awaited opportunity for Epstein’s victims to testify in public, but his last-minute lawsuit settlement deprives them of that opportunity yet again.
However, the Associated Press reports “lawyers for the accusers are continuing to wage a separate battle in federal court to get Epstein’s plea bargain thrown out and expose him to prosecution again.”
As Purpose’s Marisa Kabas pointed out, Epstein’s latest legal settlement didn’t include an apology.
He apologized to the victims’ lawyer for wrongly claiming the lawyer used unfair tactics. Epstein offered no words of remorse for his child victims. https://t.co/91DDowCuvG
— marisa kabas (@MarisaKabas) December 4, 2018