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DOJ Investigation Found No Wrongdoing in 2008 Plea Bargain to Free Epstein

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DOJ Investigation Found No Wrongdoing in 2008 Plea Bargain to Free Epstein
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A Justice Department investigation concluded that former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta showed “bad judgment” in prosecuting a rich financier, Jeffrey Epstein, when he was Florida’s top federal prosecutor.

The paper published by The Associated Press is the result of an investigation by the Department of Justice into Acosta’s handling of a confidential plea with Epstein, who had been accused of sexually assaulting hundreds of underage children.

The study also concludes that neither of the attorneys committed any wrongdoing in their dealings with the victims.

The report’s conclusions are likely to disappoint Epstein’s victims, who have long hoped this would hold Justice Department officials accountable for actions they say allowed him to escape justice.

Under the 2008 non-prosecution agreement—also known as the NPA—Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida for soliciting and prosecuting a minor for sex.

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That helped him to escape a potential life sentence, instead of spending 13 months in the work-release programme. He was forced to make restitution to victims and to register as a sex offender.

Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, who regularly confronted officials of the Department of Justice on the plea bargain, condemned the conclusions of the study.

“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child exploitation and human sex slavery isn’t a ‘bad judgment’—it’s a nasty failure. The Americans should be furious,” Sasse said.

“Jeffrey Epstein is meant to rot behind bars now but the Justice Department has failed Epstein’s victims at every level.”

Do you think that Acosta was expected to reach this plea bargain with Epstein?

The investigation focuses on two facets of the Epstein case—if attorneys have erred or committed fraud by settling the charges into an NPA, and whether they have mishandled contacts with plaintiffs of the case.

The study concluded that they did not perform wrongdoing in their dealings with the victims and there was no “simple and unequivocal obligation” to consult the victims before joining the NPA.

Epstein was later indicted by federal prosecutors in Manhattan on similar offenses in 2019, but he reportedly took his own life while in federal detention while awaiting trial.

The Department of Justice’s internal inquiry found that Acosta’s “decision to settle the criminal investigation by the NPA is a bad judgment.”

Investigators concluded that while it was beyond their power and did not benefit from “improper favors,” the arrangement was a faulty process to fulfill the federal interest that prompted the government to open its investigation of Epstein.”

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The inquiry involved interviews with more than 60 people and a study of hundreds of thousands of documents of the Department of Justice.

Officials named as targets of the probe Acosta, three former supervisors in his prosecution office as well as an acting U.S. attorney involved in the Epstein lawsuit.

The study concluded that Acosta, who had taken responsibility for his actions in interviews, had the authority, as the U.S. Attorney, “to settle the case as he found it acceptable and reasonable, as long as his determination was not inspired or affected by inappropriate considerations.”

The office argued that its investigation had provided no proof that Acosta had been swayed by “impermissible factors, such as Epstein’s income, status, or connections” and had in effect defied the defense lawyers’ attempts to bring the case back to the state for whatever result in the state desired.

The study also did not notice that a well-publicized 2007 breakfast meeting with one of Epstein’s lawyers led to an NPA—which had been signed weeks earlier—”or some other major decision that helped Epstein.”

“As a result,” the report said The Office of Professional Responsibility] does not find that Acosta has committed professional misconduct by addressing the federal prosecution of Epstein in the manner it has done or that the other subjects have committed professional misconduct by carrying out the decisions of Acosta.”

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