How a serial sex abuser got an extraordinary deal
November 29, 2018 1:28 PM   Subscribe

He abused hundreds of underage girls. He served 13 months. After months of investigation, the FBI appeared to have enough evidence to send Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein to prison for life. But in 2007, U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta accepted an unusual plea, which resulted in a brief stint in county jail and also granted immunity from federal criminal charges to Epstein, four accomplices, and “any potential co-conspirators." Acosta is now Secretary of Labor, but he is no longer being considered for Attorney General. (Original link goes to the first of three long Miami Herald stories, which are based on their year-long investigation and include detailed descriptions of the abuse. Slate has a summary.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some (56 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite


 
Thank you for making an FPP on this.
posted by schadenfrau at 1:49 PM on November 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


Why am I not surprised to see that human ashtray Alan Dershowitz is involved in this.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:55 PM on November 29, 2018 [24 favorites]


I had heard of Epstein, but holy crap I had no idea the extent of the horror he visited upon so many people.

Acosta, what the hell were you trying to hide?
posted by FleetMind at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2018 [4 favorites]






Why am I not surprised to see that human ashtray Alan Dershowitz is involved in this.

Don't go overlooking Kenneth Starr, now. Not when he went to the trouble of getting fired from Baylor University, in 2016, for mishandling sexual assault claims made against the football team. The man's commitment to his personal brand staggers belief.

The Guardian, Nov. 4, 2016:
A woman who had accused Donald Trump of raping her when she was a 13-year-old dropped her lawsuit against the Republican nominee on Friday.

One of the accuser’s attorneys, Thomas Meagher, filed a one-page voluntary dismissal in district court in New York late on Friday. Neither he nor a second attorney listed immediately responded to questions about the document.

The woman, who had filed suit earlier this year under the pseudonym Jane Doe, had alleged that Trump and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein had raped her in 1994, when she was a 13-year-old aspiring model.

This week she abruptly cancelled a plan to speak publically about the allegations, and another attorney, Lisa Bloom, cited “numerous threats” against her client.
Threats, yes, but I wonder if that "any potential co-conspirator" bit in Epstein's plea deal helped derail this suit; it would have surfaced in the discovery phase.
posted by Iris Gambol at 2:19 PM on November 29, 2018 [14 favorites]


Frank Rich in today's The National Circus:
This is an astonishing if stomach-churning feat of investigative reporting by the Herald. If you read it in conjunction with the new Times investigation of Leslie Moonves, you will be sickened all over again by the quantity of sexual assault that not only took place in the highest echelons of American society but that was then successfully covered up by corporations, lawyers, and supposed law-enforcement authorities. In Epstein’s case, the Herald located not just forgotten victims among “a large, cult-like network of underage girls” but also uncovered, among other evidence, the full unredacted police investigation conducted in Palm Beach, where most (but not all) of Epstein’s crimes were carried out in a waterfront mansion.

What stands out is how Alexander Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor and now Trump’s secretary of Labor, presided over a sweetheart plea deal that both allowed Epstein to escape serious punishment and shut down an FBI investigation of additional crimes. (Epstein also was let off the hook in New York by the office of the DA Cyrus Vance.) The Herald presents a sordid picture of the powerful lawyers who ran Epstein’s defense, including Dershowitz and Starr. “Irony” is too weak a word to wield in talking about Starr, the pious Clinton pursuer who, in addition to fiercely advocating for the sex-criminal Epstein, looked the other way when a sexual-assault scandal unfolded at Baylor University while he was its president. In the Times’ new story, there is a comparable narrative about the high-powered lawyers CBS employed to investigate Moonves and ended up protecting him. It leaves you wondering what might have been covered up in CBS “investigations” of Charlie Rose and Jeff Fager as well.

Clinton and Trump’s see-no-evil friendships with Epstein are appalling. Surely one of the most chilling sentences in the Herald account is its reminder of how in 2002 Epstein flew Clinton and Kevin Spacey, among others, on a private jet as part of “a fact-finding AIDS mission in support of the Clinton Foundation.” As for Trump, you have to wonder if Acosta is Labor secretary — as well as a potential choice for attorney general — because of what he might know about what went on at Mar-a-Lago, from whose workers’ ranks, the Herald reports, Epstein plucked at least one victim.
posted by homunculus at 2:37 PM on November 29, 2018 [33 favorites]


How the hell is this possible?
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, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.
Epstein's deal is horrible, but a sweetheart plea deal is at least broadly within the bounds of what I thought the legal system can do, even if it's awful. But how do you have a plea agreement that also grants immunity to anyone, anywhere who sort of maybe had something to do with this, even though those people aren't parties to the agreement? How is that a thing?
posted by zachlipton at 2:41 PM on November 29, 2018 [40 favorites]


Cross-posting from the megathread: The teen girls Jeffrey Epstein allegedly sexually abused will get their day in court
The paper found 80 of Epstein’s alleged victims, reached out to 60 of them, and interviewed eight. This is the first time some of their stories have been told publicly. The girls who accused him of sexual assault over a decade ago were not notified by Acosta and his team of the non-prosecution agreement crafted for Epstein before he was sentenced. They never appeared in court. Epstein, a former Bear Stearns banker, may have provided federal prosecutors with information about the global investment bank, which failed during the subprime crisis, the Herald suggests.

The teens who say Epstein paid them for nude massages, and sometimes sex, at his mansion in Palm Beach will finally be able to publicly testify against him, however. On Dec. 4, a jury trial for the first of two civil lawsuits filed in relation to the long-running legal battle between Epstein and Bradley Edwards, the top attorney for Epstein’s accusers, begins in a Palm Beach court. The trial is “the first time that Epstein’s victims will have their day in court, and several of them are scheduled to testify,” the Herald says.
posted by homunculus at 2:42 PM on November 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


Ok full on breakdown.... like what is this fuckity.... what is even real? Burn it all down these people are all evil. Treat humans you love with understanding and to the ones you don’t... be kind. That is it for me time for a break from the internets.

P.S. evil fuckers are evil. fuck them!
posted by mrgroweler at 2:44 PM on November 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


Epstein also was let off the hook in New York by the office of the DA Cyrus Vance

THIS motherfucker.

He was just re-elected, but it occurs to me that one way to get rid of an evil, corrupt DA is to indict that DA on corruption charges. Can any lawyers tell me if this is a job for the SDNY DA or the NYS AG?

Or if sweetheart plea deals like this are actually enforceable, or, especially if there’s a suggestion that the plea deal itself is part of the corruption, we can just, you know, renege.

Because fuck this, emphatically.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:48 PM on November 29, 2018 [24 favorites]


I can't believe how little attention this piece of shit person gets. As far as I'm concerned, Donald Trump is a child rapist, but fuck if anyone will ever bring that up without getting shouted down, or bizarrely, dismissed with people going "oh but Bill Clinton." As if two powerful, rich men can't both do the sorts of things you expect of powerful, rich men. I have to assume one of the big reasons no one talks about it is how commonly guilty so many people in power are. If one person gets taken down and people notice, hey, theses rich bastards are using their power and wealth to do whatever they want, including having sex with minors. I cannot even imagine how many evil people are in office right now. Hell, remember when Jimmy Saville died and suddenly folks "discovered" his evil atrocities and briefly a ton of other people were implicated as well... that went nowhere. Meanwhile over here we don't even get that tiny glimpse, it's all under the radar by design.
posted by GoblinHoney at 3:00 PM on November 29, 2018 [17 favorites]


A woman who had accused Donald Trump of raping her when she was a 13-year-old dropped her lawsuit against the Republican nominee on Friday.

One unexamined thread here is that this occurred within weeks of the Cohen-facilitated payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels in exchange for their silence.
posted by zachlipton at 3:01 PM on November 29, 2018 [22 favorites]


Threats, yes, but I wonder if that "any potential co-conspirator" bit in Epstein's plea deal helped derail this suit; it would have surfaced in the discovery phase.

Wait, what? Would this plea deal prevent this lawsuit from starting?
posted by ocschwar at 3:02 PM on November 29, 2018


One of the accuser’s attorneys, Thomas Meagher, filed a one-page voluntary dismissal in district court in New York late on Friday. Neither he nor a second attorney listed immediately responded to questions about the document.

One thing to keep in mind is that Doe -- while appearing to prevail, albeit very early in the case -- withdrew her case at the exact same time Donald Trump's "Fixer", Michael Cohen was buying women's silence with large checks and very badly written NDAs.
posted by mikelieman at 3:04 PM on November 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


It seems pretty evident that Epstein has a lot of rapey dirt on other powerful dudes. I assume that is how he maintains his wealth and his freedom in spite of all of the evidence. 14 year old girls are easy to discredit and disposable, especially when a rich dude has been paying them money. (sigh, I hate this world)

For a little more background, here is a Vanity Fair article about him from 2003 and a followup in 2013 by the reporter who wrote that profile.

I Tried to Warn You About Sleazy Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2003

The Talented Mr Epstein
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:05 PM on November 29, 2018 [30 favorites]


Acosta is now Secretary of Labor, but he is no longer being considered for Attorney General.

Another detail from that article:
On Thursday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s office issued a statement saying the Florida Democrat wanted the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate whether Acosta engaged in misconduct when he made the secret plea deal.

“The American people and the victims of these horrific crimes deserve to know why justice was not served in this disturbing case, and the lack of transparency still cloaking it is very troubling,” her statement said. “Therefore, I am calling on the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately open an investigation into potential corruption surrounding Secretary Acosta’s actions as a federal prosecutor.”
Does anyone know if the Office of Inspector General has the authority to initiate an investigation like this on their own, or do they need to get permission from Attorney General Matthew Whitaker?
posted by homunculus at 3:14 PM on November 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


Does anyone know if the Office of Inspector General has the authority to initiate an investigation like this on their own, or do they need to get permission from Attorney General Matthew Whitaker?

I think there's a house committee that might be interested come January.
posted by mikelieman at 3:28 PM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]




He was just re-elected, but it occurs to me that one way to get rid of an evil, corrupt DA is to indict that DA on corruption charges. Can any lawyers tell me if this is a job for the SDNY DA or the NYS AG?

Not a lawyer, but I seem to remember that Schneiderman was investigating Vance. I'm not sure what happened there, particularly since prosecutors taking money from rich people and not prosecuting them for their crimes is a pretty regular occurrence in our legal system.

The Epstein story is infuriating. It reminds me a lot of Harvey Weinstein -- I had absorbed culture-wide knowledge that This Guy Is A Creep without knowing why he was a creep. The actual offenses both men committed were so much worse than I expected. The number of people who knew and covered it up is so much larger than I would've thought. (I'm not dumb, and I don't generally have a lot of faith in humanity, so I don't know why I keep getting surprised by this stuff.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 4:04 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


FULL OF BEES I AM FULL OF BEES
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:08 PM on November 29, 2018 [19 favorites]


It's travesties like this that make me start to wonder whether I should reconsider my position on mob justice. If there were ever a time when an organized campaign of mass harrassment were justified, it would be this time.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:57 PM on November 29, 2018 [7 favorites]


or batman

or the punisher

or any number of revenge fantasies
posted by lalochezia at 4:58 PM on November 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


If you want to be further agitated, here's an article from 2011 about his rich friends sticking by him:

The conventional wisdom among his friends was that Epstein has been victimized by greedy, morally dubious teenage girls and unscrupulous lawyers. "I've never condoned paying for sex, but if the young lady lied about her age it's her own fault," explained one socialite

Instead of revenge, I'd like a world that values and listens to vulnerable people as much as it does rich dudes. Because revenge against one dude doesn't solve the underlying issue that allows people like him to operate.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2018 [9 favorites]


I mean, James effen Patterson wrote a book about this that came out during the 2016 election. I recall it mentioned trump on the book jacket.
posted by sir_patrick_o'veal at 5:40 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Well proper revenge would be not only on him, but on these “socialites” that stuck by him. People should be calling up and putting pressure on every person that’s ever defended him.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:42 PM on November 29, 2018 [5 favorites]


2nding mob justice.
posted by bonobothegreat at 6:35 PM on November 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is totally insane.
posted by odinsdream at 7:23 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, sure, they probably just call the Prince "Randy Andy" because he composes all his correspondence on a vintage Remington-Rand Delux Model 5 typewriter from 1947. There's a perfectly simple explanation for everything! /srcsm

And I don't care what supposedly good or useful man goes down in this investigation if they run across goods on him. We've got plenty of perfectly good, sane, competent, non-child-raping men and women to take their places. Nobody is too valuable to not go down.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:26 PM on November 29, 2018 [13 favorites]


Yeah, there's a chance that Cohen stepped in with an NDN and a check to make Jane Doe withdraw her lawsuit. But Trump's such a cheapskate, if he could use the Epstein plea loophole (which is not an available lever in the other payout instances) and pocket any hush money, he would.

Moreover, back in 2007: Despite federal law stipulating otherwise, the details of the plea deal were not made available to the victims.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:35 PM on November 29, 2018 [4 favorites]


But Trump's such a cheapskate, if he could use the Epstein plea loophole

Does a plea deal in a criminal case affect civil liability? That seems like something that a motion would have to be filed for, but the record doesn't show it. There's no reason the plaintiff would withdraw the case just because Trump's lawyers said she couldn't sue them -- without actually filing a motion.

Since this was withdrawn before the first conference, Rule 41 prevents us from knowing the details of any settlement.

Fuck Rule 41.
posted by mikelieman at 7:39 PM on November 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


Was this Jane Doe part of the original Epstein proceedings? In the 2016 filing, the assaults took place in 1994.

The current lawsuit asserts that hiding the details of the non-prosecution agreement violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771). If the statute of limitations (all over the place, with the multi-state and international travel) had expired for criminal arrest for 1994 assaults by 2016, but the first Epstein sentencing in 2007 isn't valid, can the clock reset and offer the opportunity to prosecute in criminal court again? And done right this time, with extensive child abuse and trafficking charges, rather than felony prostitution weaseling.

Here's a 2014 court filing. The joinder also names a few of Epstein's famous friends, and how he arranged assaults to collect blackmail material on the men.

Well, here's a detail I missed: Epstein has a near-legendary reputation in New York financial circles as a money manager who made many millions for his clients. Although he never graduated from college, he taught advanced math at the Dalton School, one of the city's top private schools...

Dalton is grades K-12.
posted by Iris Gambol at 8:30 PM on November 29, 2018 [13 favorites]



"a government of laws and not of men"
posted by lalochezia at 8:53 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


We've got plenty of perfectly good, sane, competent, non-child-raping men

These days, sometimes I wonder. I certainly know of some (I HOPE), but they seem rarer and rarer.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:42 PM on November 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


Weinstein
Nassar
Kavanaugh
Epstein

REALLY FUCKING TIRED OF THIS ALREADY. I'd love to talk about something in therapy other than child rape in 2019.
posted by Sophie1 at 6:25 AM on November 30, 2018 [6 favorites]


This is Chapo Trap House's "One True Conspiracy Theory", that everyone who has stepped on an Epstein plane has fucked kids. He is disgusting and has so much dirt on DC that he is basically untouchable.
posted by graventy at 7:45 AM on November 30, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, no, that’s kinda dumb. Not everyone Epstein needed leverage with would be a pedophile; he’d need different bait. And at a certain point, just, as you say, getting on a plane with Epstein might be incriminating enough.

But if he’s a compulsive blackmailer on the level of J Edgar Hoover — like so prolific and creative with it, to the point where you kind of suspect secretly taping people and then blackmailing them, or just knowing he could blackmail them, was actually one of his kinks — he’d get them for whatever he could. I’m sure those planes were wired to hell and back.

Too bad “drain the swamp” is taken. It’s what we actually need to do.

And then we need to restructure things so that people like Epstein never acquire the sort of wealth and power that can completely insulate them from the law.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:00 AM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Weinstein
Nassar
Kavanaugh
Epstein


I read that in Arya Stark's voice.
posted by Tsuga at 9:41 AM on November 30, 2018 [20 favorites]


But how do you have a plea agreement that also grants immunity to anyone, anywhere who sort of maybe had something to do with this, even though those people aren't parties to the agreement? How is that a thing?

I feel like it's the sort of thing when you have the money and pull to get whatever you want and also one of your lawyers who is presumably working on the plea agreement also happens to be on the list of unnamed potential co-conspirators and is desperate to keep his involvement in this completely out of the courts. It's pretty rare that one of the people working on a plea agreement would be in that position (and probably also a conflict of interest), but I think that's what's driving that particular bit of atrocious nonsense more than any of Epstein's personal wishes.
posted by Copronymus at 11:26 AM on November 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


Guaranteed this guy has dirt on Acosta, or someone very closely above Acosta. And that leaves only one person, currently at least.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:42 PM on November 30, 2018 [2 favorites]


Of note.

In 1994, Trump went to a party with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire who was a notorious registered sex offender, and raped a 13-year-old girl that night in what was a "savage sexual attack," according to a lawsuit filed in June 2016 by "Jane Doe." The account was corroborated by a witness in the suit, who claimed to have watched as the child performed various sexual acts on Trump and Epstein even after the two were advised she was a minor.

"Immediately following this rape Defendant Trump threatened me that, were I ever to reveal any of the details of Defendant Trump’s sexual and physical abuse of me, my family and I would be physically harmed if not killed," Jane Doe wrote in the lawsuit, filed in New York.

The lawsuit was dropped in November 2016, just four days before the election, with Jane Doe's attorneys citing "numerous threats" against her.

posted by allkindsoftime at 4:45 PM on November 30, 2018 [4 favorites]


So, I don't know about anyone else, but I was never able to bring myself to actually read that lawsuit when it originally went public. I've done so now and I would actually recommend anyone who can get through it to go through it in its entirety. The direct link to the court document is here.

Though it is written in a legal style, it's actually not a dry document. It's a narrative, start to finish, of the situation this woman found herself in. You can pretty much hear the interviews she and the other woman gave to the lawyers who pulled the document together. It's eye-opening, to know how these men operated (and likely still do), the kind of environment and surroundings they'd have to have enjoyed to perpetrate these crimes. The kind of threatening power they must have carried around with them to get as deep into these crimes as they did.

It's like the stuff out of a very, very dark movie, the kind you'd leave the theater thinking "gee, that was a little heavy handed on the evil guys, no way they'd get away with that IRL, people would stop them."

Well, people don't. People didn't. Lots of people.
posted by odinsdream at 6:52 AM on December 3, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'd also remind everyone again, as allkindsoftime did, that the lawsuit was withdrawn because this woman was receiving threats against her life.
posted by odinsdream at 6:54 AM on December 3, 2018 [4 favorites]


You're left with huge gaps in understanding about the narrative. It's like looking at the top of an iceberg. I have to remind myself that the reason for this is that it's a legal document, and includes only what's legally strongest. The rest of the iceberg would have been revealed during a trial.
posted by odinsdream at 7:04 AM on December 3, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'd also remind everyone again, as allkindsoftime did, that the lawsuit was withdrawn because this woman was receiving threats against her life.

That was what her lawyers say, but the timing is strange, because she withdrew a lawsuit -- it appeared she was prevailing on -- at the exact time 1) Michael Cohen was buying women's silence and 2) Rule 41 prevents any settlement from having to be disclosed.

I'm going with Occam on this one.
posted by mikelieman at 7:13 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


No reason it can't be both.
posted by odinsdream at 7:16 AM on December 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Take the money or die" doesn't sound different from "shut up or die."
posted by ocschwar at 2:51 PM on December 3, 2018 [2 favorites]


Jeffrey Epstein, sexual abuser of dozens of girls, settles case, apologizes.
A trial that could have allowed the victims of serial molester Jeffrey Epstein to finally tell their stories from a witness stand was aborted Tuesday when it was announced in court that the case had been settled.

It ended with an apology — not to the dozens of women who were sexually abused by Epstein as underage girls, but to the lawyer who represented them.

There is also a monetary settlement, which is undisclosed.
posted by gladly at 7:56 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Take the money or die" doesn't sound different from "shut up or die."

Rarely do we encounter such a stark public example of Hobson's Choice.
posted by rhizome at 10:10 AM on December 4, 2018


It ended with an apology — not to the dozens of women who were sexually abused by Epstein as underage girls, but to the lawyer who represented them.

It looks like this case was a dispute specifically between the lawyers, rather than "the" trial centering on Epstein being accused, legally or civilly, of his many horrible crimes.

Chain of events being: Epstein sues Edwards with an accusation that he's using his work defending the victims as a distraction from some kind of Ponzi scheme. But he drops that suit and then Edwards countersues. Everyone believes the actual political goal of the countersuit was indeed to shed light on the crimes and give the victims an opportunity to speak, but this wasn't the only avenue for that to happen.

In fact, it looks like the Herald updated the misleading headline to reflect this: Jeffrey Epstein, serial sex abuser, settles one case, apologizes. Next up: federal court
posted by InTheYear2017 at 11:32 AM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking...all this puts into a new light Big Donors hating on Kirsten Gillibrand, ostensibly for the sake of Al Franken. Now I'm not saying that Franken or those particular donors are pedophiles, nor do I know that they are particular friends with Epstein - but it's fishy to me that a whole bunch of big donors are going to the mat just for a junior senator from a blue state (who has been replaced by Tina Smith, who is a good, competent, liberal Senator who won her election in a landslide).

I just wonder if they are afraid of the specter of a committed feminist and #MeToo activist in the White House who might not take too kindly to any number of behind-the-scenes sexual harassment stuff.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 12:22 PM on December 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just wonder if they are afraid of the specter of a committed feminist and #MeToo activist in the White House who might not take too kindly to any number of behind-the-scenes sexual harassment stuff.

I think there is a bunch of this, plus other crimes, which could explain why white men cling to power in the US so tenaciously. I wouldn't call this a conspiracy theory so much as extrapolation from the demographics of the convicted.
posted by rhizome at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2018 [5 favorites]










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