Justice Department, Individual States and Barr’s Recusal from the Case

1 Justice Department, 2 Views on Sex Charges Against Epstein

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — There is only one Justice Department, but two of its largest U.S. attorneys’ offices came to vastly different conclusions about what to do with financier Jeffrey Epstein over allegations he sexually molested dozens of underage girls.

Eleven years ago, Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta — now President Donald Trump’s labor secretary — approved an extraordinary secret agreement in which Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges rather than face much tougher federal prosecution on charges he sexually abused underage girls at his homes in Florida and New York from 2002 through 2005.

On Monday, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced the indictment of Epstein, 66, on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges stemming from at least some of the same conduct that was covered in the agreement over a decade ago. Epstein, who served 13 months after his 2008 Florida plea deal, is now looking at 45 years behind bars if convicted in New York.

Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to the new charges and is being held until a bail hearing next week. Prosecutors want him detained until the case is resolved, contending he is a flight risk because of his extraordinary wealth.

It’s highly unusual for one federal prosecutor to pass on an indictment only to have another located elsewhere to determine otherwise, defense attorneys say. And Epstein’s lawyers argued Monday that the previous deal more than covers the new charges brought, and therefore their client cannot be prosecuted. But federal prosecutors in New York said the deal made in Miami does not apply to them.

“A 10-year-old prosecution like this one by a different district is extremely rare and dangerous, 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. “We have one federal government, and defendants and their lawyers should be able to trust that a deal is a deal.”

The allegations are that abuse occurred in both Palm Beach, Florida, and New York, but that has been publicly known for years, though authorities say there are some crimes specific to New York.

But at a Monday court hearing, Epstein attorney Reid Weingarten dismissed the idea that the new indictment would reveal anything new: “This is ancient stuff. This is essentially a redo. “

The non-prosecution agreement notes that Epstein “seeks to resolve globally” the entire case against him. There is some debate about that.

Berman credited what he called “investigative journalism” — certainly referring to a series last fall on the Epstein case by the Miami Herald — for providing his office with an avenue to take on the case. He also said the agreement signed by South Florida prosecutors and Epstein does not apply in New York.

“Too often adults in our society have turned a blind eye to the type of criminal behavior alleged here. We have seen the excuses,” said William Sweeney, head of the FBI’s New York field office.

The current head of the Justice Department, William Barr, declined to comment and said he has recused himself from the case because he once worked for a law firm that once represented Epstein. He didn’t name the firm.

Under the 2008 agreement, Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution-related charges and was allowed to go to his office during the day while he served his sentence. He also registered as a sex offender and agreed to pay millions of dollars to dozens of his victims.

But he didn’t have to face a federal indictment in Florida that would have meant a much longer prison sentence, possibly even life.

Acosta has defended the deal as appropriate under the circumstances. He also has noted how his prosecutors persisted in securing a conviction despite tremendous pressure from the defense, which included high-profile attorneys such as Kenneth Starr, Alan Dershowitz and Roy Black. They all have denied wrongdoing.

“One member of the defense team warned me that the office’s excess zeal in forcing a good man to serve time in jail might be the subject of a book if we continued,” Acosta wrote in a letter he made public after the non-prosecution agreement finally was revealed in a civil case. “Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families.”

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Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and the Secret Settlement Allowing Epstein to Continue to Destroy Lives [VIDEO]

 

Published on Feb 22, 2019

A federal judge ruled Thursday that prosecutors led by current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke the law when he was U.S. attorney in Florida. Acosta’s team allegedly concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Amna Nawaz talks to Julie Brown of the Miami Herald about the troubling details she heard from victims.
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Two of the World’s Most Brilliant Legal Minds, Jeffrey Epstein, a Feud and the Underage Girls who were Victimized

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https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article222091270.html

Dershowitz v. Boies: Jeffrey Epstein case unleashes war between two legal Goliaths

It’s a high-stakes war between two of the country’s most powerful lawyers. Their feud, simmering for years, involves accusations of extortion, surreptitious recordings, unethical conduct and underage sex trafficking.

Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz has filed four bar complaints in three states — all of which have been dismissed — in a quest to disqualify lawyer David Boies and one of his partners who represent a woman accusing Dershowitz of sexually abusing her when she was underage, newly filed court records show.

The pugnacious Dershowitz, 80, and the equally zealous Boies, 78, have been sparring for decades. In recent years, both have suffered damage to their storied legacies, making this latest clash between the two legal titans one of the most important of their half-century careers.

Dershowitz, professor emeritus at Harvard Law School and one of the nation’s most iconic civil libertarians, has defended such notorious clients as Claus von Bulow, Mike Tyson and O.J. Simpson. But after four decades of legal accolades, he is now facing a sex scandal and is forced to clear his own name at a time when he’s being confronted by a barrage of attacks on social media as one of the most fervent legal defenders of President Donald Trump.

Boies has embraced high-profile liberal causes and made history with landmark court cases: He represented Al Gore in the Florida recount dispute in the 2000 election, which he lost; successfully defended press freedom in a lawsuit involving “60 Minutes”; and in 2013 secured a Supreme Court victory overturning a California ban on same-sex marriage.

But Boies’ image has also been tarnished in recent years by his aggressive, and often ruthless, representation of controversial clients such as Hollywood film mogul and accused sex predator Harvey Weinstein and Elizabeth Holmes, founder of a blood-testing company that allegedly defrauded investors and clients.

Dershowitz’s bar complaints — disclosed here for the first time — provide a window into the behind-the-scenes legal drama between two of the world’s most brilliant lawyers. It also reveals new details about an explosive sex trafficking case involving Dershowitz’s former client, Jeffrey Epstein, a New York multimillionaire who, according to investigators, molested more than three dozen girls in Palm Beach in the years 1999 to 2006.

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David Boies’ fame was cemented by his advocacy in many high-profile cases, including arguing Bush v. Gore in front of the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the Democrat. He has also represented Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a victim of Jeffrey Epstein, who accused both Prince Andrew and Alan Dershowitz of having sex with her at Epstein’s direction. Andrew Harrer Bloomberg

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