Former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta was one of the powerful figures who helped Epstein avoid serious jail time from behind the scenes in the 2007 case where he opted to register as a sex offender to avoid serious jail time.
One of the strategies that Epstein used to stay above the law was befriending, paying off, and potentially blackmailing police, prosecutors, and judges. Acosta was one of the influential prosecutors that he befriended, and many advocates for the victims believe that Epstein was given special treatment throughout his initial trial because of his relationship with Acosta and other law enforcement officials.
Acosta was forced to resign from his position as Secretary of Labor amid the renewed controversy after Epstein's death last year, but he never faced any charges for his preferential treatment of the notorious pedophile.
Acosta was recently a target of an internal Justice Department investigation, and they determined that he “exercised poor judgment” but still ruled that he had not broken the law or engaged in professional misconduct. The decision to not prosecute Acosta was handed down despite investigators admitting that he closed Epstein's case “before significant investigative steps were completed.”
Nearly a year of emails in Alex Acosta’s email inbox while he oversaw the case against Jeffrey Epstein are missing, the Justice Department revealed.
Feds attributed the gap from May 26, 2007 to April 2, 2008 to a “technical glitch," two sources say.https://t.co/l8qiPwJWTr
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) November 13, 2020
According to CNBC, a statement on Thursday by The Justice Department said, “While OPR did not find that Department attorneys engaged in professional misconduct, OPR concluded that the victims were not treated with the forthrightness and sensitivity expected by the Department. OPR also concluded that former U.S. Attorney Acosta exercised poor judgment by deciding to resolve the federal investigation through the non-prosecution agreement and when he failed to make certain that the state of Florida intended to and would notify victims identified through the federal investigation about the state plea hearing.”
The DOJ's decision was widely criticized by victim advocates and some US officials. Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee, said that Americans should be outraged by the ruling.
“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t ‘poor judgment’ — it is a disgusting failure. Americans ought to be enraged. Jeffrey Epstein should be rotting behind bars today, but the Justice Department failed Epstein’s victims at every turn,” Sasse said in a statement responding to the recent ruling.
Sasse was the Senator who initially requested the DOJ investigation, so he is especially dismayed to see it end without any charges.
In Acosta's controversial plea deal with Epstein in 2007, he significantly reduced the charges against Epstein by legally classifying the underage girls as voluntary sex-workers.
Sasse said that the Justice Department’s “crooked deal with Epstein effectively shut down investigations into his child sex trafficking ring and protected his co-conspirators in other states.”
The agreement also went against federal law to keep information from the victims and protect Epstein from future prosecutions.
some pretty damning stuff about ex-labor secretary Alex Acosta's conduct as a prosecutor—including that he didn't treat victims with dignity," in relation to some horrific sexual crimes involving minors. it's (almost) a little jarring next to the language exonerating him. pic.twitter.com/RlGq0bmIi1
— Hassan Ali (@hassankanu) November 12, 2020
According to prosecutors, Epstein operated a “vast network” for child human trafficking between 2002 and 2005, which allowed him to “sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls.” Many long-time friends like Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew have been implicated in Epstein’s illicit activities.