Three years ago, RedState Front-Page Contributor Streiff wrote about multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s shockingly short prison sentence and welcome back into society. This week, the Miami Herald published a multi–part investigation series about Epstein, his crimes and co-conspirators, and the reasons behind his short punishment.
Long before #MeToo became the catalyst for a women's movement about sexual assault — and a decade before the fall of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and U.S. Olympic gymnastic doctor Larry Nassar — there was Jeffrey Edward Epstein. #PerversionofJustice pic.twitter.com/z3rIvzQWE9
— Miami Herald (@MiamiHerald) November 28, 2018
According to the Herald:
Beginning as far back as 2001, Epstein lured a steady stream of underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion to engage in nude massages, masturbation, oral sex and intercourse, court and police records show. The girls — mostly from disadvantaged, troubled families — were recruited from middle and high schools around Palm Beach County. Epstein would pay the girls for massages and offer them further money to bring him new girls every time he was at his home in Palm Beach, according to police reports.
Yes, some of his alleged victims were in middle school.
One alleged victim told the Herald, “By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years.”
In 2007, despite ample physical evidence and multiple witnesses corroborating the girls’ stories, federal prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers quietly put together a remarkable deal for Epstein, then 54. He agreed to plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges in state court, and in exchange, he and his accomplices received immunity from federal sex-trafficking charges that could have sent him to prison for life.
He served 13 months in a private wing of the Palm Beach County stockade [and received work release privileges despite explicit sheriff’s department rules prohibiting sex offenders from qualifying for work release]. His alleged co-conspirators, who helped schedule his sex sessions, were never prosecuted.
The deal, called a federal non-prosecution agreement, was sealed so that no one — not even his victims — could know the full scope of Epstein’s crimes and who else was involved. The U.S. attorney in Miami, Alexander Acosta, was personally involved in the negotiations, records, letters and emails show.
According to the Herald, many who should have been diligently searching out the truth sought to conceal it instead. For example, the Herald reported a New York County District Attorney prosecutor shocked New York Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholtz by arguing on behalf of Epstein. And surely at least one section will surprise — and anger — Circuit Court Judge Deborah Dale Pucillo:
The judge at Epstein’s sentencing hearing at the Palm Beach County Courthouse knew very little about Epstein’s crimes. The sentencing paperwork was restricted to Epstein’s specific charges: one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution.
“Are there more than one victim?’’ Circuit Court Judge Deborah Dale Pucillo asked the prosecutor at Epstein’s sentencing on June 30, 2008.
“There’s several,’’ replied assistant state prosecutor Lanna Belohlavek.
“Are all the victims in both of these cases in agreement with the terms of this plea?” Pucillo later asked.
“Yes,” Belohlavek replied, telling the judge that she had spoken to “several” of Epstein’s victims.
Emails show that federal prosecutors didn’t want the judge to know how many victims and accomplices there were.
Federal prosecutor A. Marie Villafaña — in a September 2007 email to Epstein lawyer Jay Lefkowitz — said: “I will mention co-conspirators but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all the other crimes and all the other persons that we could charge.’’
Alexander Acosta — the Miami prosecutor who cut the deal — is now U.S. secretary of labor, a Cabinet position. According to the Herald, emails show “Acosta and the lead federal prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, acquiesced to Epstein’s legal team’s demands, which often focused on ways to limit the scandal by shutting out his victims and the media, including suggesting that the charges be filed in Miami, instead of Palm Beach, where Epstein’s victims lived.”
A final, and heartbreaking, outrage is that Epstein’s alleged victims were labeled as prostitutes, despite being underage and being victims. The Miami Herald reported that the girls were particularly vulnerable, as they were “mostly from disadvantaged, troubled families.”
As one girl’s lawyer stated, “She was taken advantage of twice — first by Epstein, and then by the criminal justice system that labeled a 14-year-old girl as a prostitute.”
Those tasked with pursuing justice appear to have purposely obstructed it instead. This was an incredible investigative undertaking by the Miami Herald, and I hope it leads to actual justice.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not represent those of any other individual or entity. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmquinlan.