Crimes and Non-Punishment
The latest indictment is not Epstein’s first, as he was able to leverage his wealth and connections to finesse a sweetheart deal in the Southern District of Florida years prior to the latest charges.
In 2005, a woman reported to Florida police that a wealthy man had molested her stepdaughter. The tip led Palm Beach detectives to investigate, and they identified multiple girls who said Epstein had abused them. The case was eventually referred to the FBI, and in 2008, after years of investigation and legal wrangling, Epstein pleaded guilty to charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution in a deal with federal prosecutors.
According to court and police records reviewed by the Miami Herald’s Julie Brown, whose dogged reporting on this case has been nothing short of remarkable, Epstein routinely had underage girls brought to his Palm Beach mansion, where he paid them to give him massages. During the massages, he often subjected the girls to sexual abuse — asking them to touch him while he masturbated, touching them himself, and sometimes having sex with them. Then, he would offer them money to find him more girls — which some of them did, finding recruits at malls and house parties. Victims became recruiters and the cycle was born.
Epstein is said to have been operating a “sexual pyramid scheme.” Roughly 80 women have come to Brown to say they were molested or otherwise sexually abused by Epstein, and some accounts suggest the total number may be much higher.
But despite the sheer scope and depravity of the matter at hand, an extremely controversial plea deal was struck — an agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved. As is the recurring theme with all things Epstein, secrecy won the day.
Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement— essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes. That’s right, folks. Epstein was able to protect not only himself but all those involved in his evil deeds.
The deal required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four of his accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges. But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators’’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes. These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement (shocker), which has led many to (justifiably) suspect that it referred to other influential people who were raping young girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.
As nauseating as those details are, however, they weren’t what would ultimately keep this case going. Rather, former U.S. Attorney and now Trump administration Secretary of Labor Robert Acosta was found to have broken federal law by keeping the deal from Epstein’s victims. Acosta’s 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. They wanted to keep this thing quiet because they knew the outrage it would cause.
We can’t let the cries of commoners interfere in the rich man’s “justice,” after all. It was far too great a risk for Acosta’s office to take.
There was one underreported aspect of the deal that would ultimately come back to haunt Epstein, though, in the form of jurisdiction. There was nothing prohibiting Epstein’s prosecution should crimes be charged in other districts. In addition, the Florida deal dealt with state crimes, not federal ones. With the legal possibilities wide open, Brown’s reporting served to keep in the public sphere, while lawsuits from the Failing New York Times, Failing Washington Post, Miami Herald and even Mike Cernovich succeeded in getting a federal judge in New York to unseal records related to the Epstein case.
With the facts out there for all to see, the Southern District of New York had little recourse other than to at least feign interest in bringing this demon to justice. As Aaron Berlein from Wrongthink Radio so astutely observed, the resurrection of the Epstein case may have well been an inevitability. But it’s worth noting that the unsealed records were not the sole predicate for the SDNY’s involvement. As it turns out, their public corruption unit was investigating Epstein for months before the charges were announced. The uproar over Epstein’s sweetheart deal in Florida seems to be the impetus for the current show in New York, although the unsealing of records could arguably have expedited charges.
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