Last December I told you all about the Miami Herald's investigation into the sweetheart plea deal that Florida hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein received in the trafficking case of underage girls he faced. Now the Herald's story has resulted in the Justice Department is finally investigating Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's role in that plea deal when Acosta was a US Attorney in Miami.
The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta’s role in negotiating a controversial plea deal with a wealthy New York investor accused of molesting more than 100 underage girls in Palm Beach.
The probe is in response to a request by Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican and member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was critical of the case following a series of stories in the Miami Herald. The Herald articles detailed how Acosta, then the U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, and other DOJ attorneys worked hand-in-hand with defense lawyers to cut a lenient plea deal with multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.
The Herald’s three-part series, Perversion of Justice, was cited by Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd in his letter to Sasse. DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility will head the investigation, he said.
“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,’’ wrote Boyd in the letter dated Wednesday.
Acosta, 50, had been considered a rising star in the Republican Party and was once mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He did not respond to a request for comment emailed to his office on Wednesday.
Sasse and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Sunrise Democrat, have pushed for a DOJ investigation into whether there was any undue influence that tainted the case.
“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,’’ Sasse said on Wednesday. “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.’’
Former Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter — who pressured Acosta and former Palm Beach state prosecutor Barry Krischer to more aggressively prosecute Epstein — said he would like to see Epstein’s victims finally receive some form of justice.
“I hope that the Department of Justice investigation answers the questions of why this case was handled by the U.S. attorney’s office in the way that it was, and may it somehow result in justice and an apology by the government for the victims and their families,’’ Reiter said.
Again, Epstein was facing more than 100 counts of sexual molestation of underage girls. This is a vile scumbag who should be rotting in a windowless hot box in the Florida sun for the next eternity or two, but Epstein had powerful friends in both parties, including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump.
Acosta too should be disbarred and chucked out of the Labor Department. There's no way he should ever have been confirmed, but Republicans are perfectly fine letting a guy who let a super-rich child molester get away with it, because that's what powerful Republicans do.
We'll see if anything comes from this.