Last week, the US Department of Justice announced its ruling on the “sweetheart deal” that Jeffrey Epstein was given in his first trial in 2007. The agency ruled that the former US Attorney Alex Acosta “exercised poor judgment” in his handling of Epstein’s case, but still did not press any charges.
Shortly after the ruling was announced, attorneys for some of Epstein’s victims filed a court order demanding information that has been “concealed” by the justice department. Among other accusations, the filing says that federal prosecutors helped cover-up a year-long “data gap” in the email inbox of Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. Attorney in Miami who approved the deal.
Paul Cassell, an attorney for alleged victim Courtney Wild, said that “I think it calls into doubt everything that we’ve been told about the case from the Justice Department.
“We’ve been told that they have all the information, that everything was fine. But now it turns out they’ve never had all the information,” Cassell said, according to ABC News.
Last week, the DOJ released a 350-page report on the deal that Epstein was given in 2007, but victims and their lawyers believe that crucial details were left out, and those involved were not seriously investigated.
Statement on DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility Report on Jeffrey Epstein 2006-2008 Investigation https://t.co/G9GKbbQ65B
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) November 12, 2020
The DOJ review of Acosta’s actions on the case relied mostly on internal emails and communications that took place between prosecutors and Epstein’s lawyers. Investigators determined the year of missing emails was most likely due to a “technological error,” ruling that there was no evidence that anything was intentionally deleted.
However, attorneys for the victims say that the time period where the data gap occurred coincides with the time when the lead prosecutor was preparing the initial indictment against Epstein, through the time when Epstein entered his plea agreement. The attorneys allege that Epstein’s attorneys were lobbying to persuade Acosta and other officials to give the most lenient deal possible.
NEW: DOJ report: Lawyer Alan Dershowitz threatened Palm Beach state attorney handling Jeffrey Epstein case: “Don’t go to court because we are going to destroy those girls.”https://t.co/c0xeSKpjvT
— julie k. brown (@jkbjournalist) November 13, 2020
“The gap seems to have surgically struck on exactly the time period when most of the big decisions were being made. I was stunned because you would think if there was ever a case where the Justice Department would have been very careful to make sure they had complete records and things weren’t missing, this would be the one,” Cassell said.
When Cassell said and his co-counsel Brad Edwards looked through the files that were released last week, they noticed that some emails that were cited in the report were withheld from them during the initial trial.
“In just a few minutes’ time, I identified several ‘external’ emails that appear to have been available to OPR but inexplicably never made available to Ms. Wild,” Edwards wrote in an affidavit submitted to the court on Monday.
In the court filings, Edwards and Cassell also allege that large volumes of evidence have been kept from prosecutors and the public, including a discussion between government officials and Epstein’s lawyers about a subpoena to obtain computers that were removed from Epstein’s Palm Beach home before it was raided by local police.
“So far as we can determine in our records, this correspondence has not been produced to us. This correspondence is significant because, had the efforts to obtain the computer continued, it is likely that the [prosecutors] would have obtained ironclad forensic evidence to charge Epstein with child pornography crimes,” Edwards wrote.