Speculation Mounts that Labor Sec. May Soon Resign over Epstein Deal

Donald and Melania Trump Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a Lago club in 2000

Donald and Melania Trump Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell pose together at the Mar-a Lago club in 2000. Getty

Clinton's press secretary Angel Ureña said in a statement on Monday that Clinton "knows nothing about the awful crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or with those which he has been recently charged in NY".

Acosta as USA attorney in Florida had negotiated the 2008 deal with Epstein's high-powered team of legal eagles - including a partner at his own former law firm. The charges are similar to previous charges that Epstein faced in Florida in 2007; as USA attorney in Florida at that time, Acosta negotiated a plea deal that gave Epstein 13 months in county jail - and allowed him to work from his office six days a week. By the time he was arrested for sexual abuse of minors in 2008, Epstein had ensconced himself deeply in power, surrounding himself with famous and powerful friends like Bill Clinton, whom Epstein hung out with in 2002 and 2003, and Donald Trump, who in 2002 described Epstein as a "terrific friend" who liked women "on the younger side".

The former hedge fund manager "intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18, including because, in some instances, minor victims expressly told him their age", the indictment said. He has pleaded not guilty.

"A 10-year-old prosecution like this one by a different district is extremely rare and unsafe, even if the previous plea agreement is later viewed as a really bad one", said David O. Markus, a prominent Miami defense attorney not involved in the case. "It didn't purport to bind any other office or district". Unlike typical plea bargains, these agreements are not made public.

Acosta called the new charges an "important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice".

Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten has since distanced Trump from Epstein, telling Politico in 2017 that Trump "had no relationship with Mr. Epstein and had no knowledge whatsoever of his conduct".

"It sure seemed like a global solution at the time to everyone involved, including my client", Weingarten said. "After consulting with career ethics officials at the department, the attorney general will not recuse from the current SDNY matter".

Former federal prosecutors said they believe the agreement is limited to the Florida district, but that there still may be a path forward for Epstein's attorneys.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY, who brought the latest indictment, said the office was not bound by the 2008 Florida deal struck by Acosta, then the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

"He banned him from stepping foot on the property", Garten said. Help us understand; help us see the differences between this case and the case that was prosecuted by Acosta.

Acosta testified at the time that he couldn't go into the specific deliberations in the Epstein case, but stressed that the outcome resulted in a jail sentence, registration as a sex offender, and that Epstein was not shielded in the deal from potential civil litigation filed by victims.

"The president needs to answer for this, and "I don't recall" is not an acceptable answer in this case", the New York Democrat said on the Senate floor.

Epstein's lawyers dispute that and call the allegations "ancient stuff".

"Preserving the innocence of children is one of the most important responsibilities we carry as adults", argued William Sweeney, head of New York's Federal Bureau of Investigation office.

This deal, which has come under renewed controversy for its leniency, was negotiated by former US-Attorney Alexander Acosta.

"And he kept asking me to go lower and he was kind of talking to me", she told America's ABC News.

"There are DOJ policies that disfavor charging a federal offense that was already charged as a state offense", Devlin-Brown added, but it isn't prohibited. The woman's case against Epstein was later settled for undisclosed terms.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges.

The focal point of the legal disputes, however, will be the Florida agreement.

A non-prosecution agreement is essentially a contract between prosecutors and a defendant in a criminal case.

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