Investigations

Democrats call for full investigation of Justice Department’s deal with Jeffrey Epstein

AG nominee Barr pledges to look into handling of Epstein case

Sen. Ben Sasse questioned attorney general nominee William Barr about the Jeffrey Epstein case on January 15, 2019, getting the nominee to commit to having the Department of Justice look into the handling of that case if confirmed.
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Sen. Ben Sasse questioned attorney general nominee William Barr about the Jeffrey Epstein case on January 15, 2019, getting the nominee to commit to having the Department of Justice look into the handling of that case if confirmed.

Democratic members of Congress requested Friday that Attorney General William Barr order an investigation into his own department’s handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case, focusing on the deal Epstein received to escape meaningful punishment 10 years ago.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Attorney General Barr Friday, saying the department’s ongoing inspector general investigation should not limit itself to how the multimillionaire financier was able to wind up dead in a Manhattan jail cell while awaiting trial.

“Limiting the scope of an independent inquiry solely into his death is grossly inadequate, and would ignore the various DOJ officials who have allowed this serial pedophile to escape true justice for more than a decade,” said the letter, signed by Florida U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Lois Frankel, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and Ted Deutch, and Reps. Jackie Speier of California and Jamie Raskin of Maryland.

Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.

The main Justice Department official referenced in the letter is Alexander Acosta, who was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida when Epstein was first investigated on allegations of sexually trafficking dozens of underage girls at his waterfront estate in Palm Beach.

After preparing a 53-page draft indictment that could have put away Epstein for life, Acosta shelved the charges, allowing Epstein to plead to relatively minor charges in state court in Palm Beach County and serve a short jail term.

Acosta, who was named secretary of labor after President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, resigned the post in July amid a flurry of criticism that followed a Miami Herald investigation of his role in Epstein’s plea deal.

Acosta not only approved the unusual deal with Epstein, but went along with the demands of Epstein’s powerful legal team that victims not be informed of the plea arrangement. A federal judge recently ruled that the secrecy violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

Following years of freedom, Epstein was arrested early last month after the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York revived the case and issued a fresh indictment. Epstein, 66, was found dead in his jail cell weeks later, the victim of a hanging. The death has been ruled a suicide.

“Mr. Epstein’s victims have been denied justice at every turn so far,” said the letter. “They must be granted this dignity, while some measure of true accountability is still within reach.”

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