An illegal slap on the wrist

A Florida judger refuses to let federal prosecutors avoid prosecuting a pedophile:

A U.S. District judge on Thursday ruled that federal prosecutors illegally signed a plea agreement with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and hid it from his more than two dozen underage victims.

“Epstein used paid employees to find and bring minor girls to him.,’’ wrote U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra of Palm Beach County. “Epstein worked in concert with others to obtain minors not only for his own sexual gratification, but also for the sexual gratification of others.’’

Epstein, now 66, reached a nonprosecution deal in 2008 with then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta’s office to secretly end a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed him behind bars for life. He instead pleaded guilty to state charges, spent 13 months in jail, paid settlements to victims and is a registered sex offender.

Acosta, now President Donald Trump’s labor secretary, has defended the deal as appropriate but has not commented since the recent round of stories. He was asked about the case during his Senate confirmation hearings for the Cabinet post. “At the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutor’s office decided that a plea that guarantees someone goes to jail, that guarantees he register generally and guarantees other outcomes, is a good thing,” he said.

Earlier February, the Justice Department opened an investigation into federal prosecutors’ handling of the plea deal.

The USA is increasingly a government of men, not laws. But not, it seems, entirely. At least, not yet.What Acosta did was wrong and he must have known it to be wrong, or he would not have hidden the deal from the victims.


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