Alexander Acosta, a former federal prosecutor in South Florida and President Trump’s current Labor Secretary, is under renewed scrutiny for his handling of a sprawling child molestation case against hedge-fund billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Acosta, a possible replacement for former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, oversaw the feds’ case against Epstein and helped orchestrate a plea deal in 2007 that allowed him to serve only 13 months in county jail — an agreement critics say was far too lenient.
Epstein — whose friends included President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew — could have faced life in federal prison for the crimes he was accused of. His victims are still pushing to have Acosta’s deal overturned because they argue it violates federal law.
Their lawyer, Bradley Edwards, described the deal as a “conspiracy [to] make the whole thing go away as quietly as possible.”
“The damage that happened in this case is unconscionable,” Edwards, a former state prosecutor, told the the Miami Herald. “How in the world, do you, the U.S. attorney, engage in a negotiation with a criminal defendant, basically allowing that criminal defendant to write up the agreement?”
Acosta’s deal not only granted immunity to potential co-conspirators in the Epstein case, it was sealed until a judge signed off, which kept it from the victims and their lawyers until it was too late to do anything about it.
Approximately 80 women allege that between 2001 and 2005 they were molested or sexually abused by Epstein, 54, who police charge lured the women when they were underage girls to his Palm Beach mansion, where he demanded massages, coerced them into sex and encouraged them to recruit more young girls to his home.
“This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation,” said Michael Reiter, the retired Palm Beach Police Chief who supervised his department’s probe. “This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’
Some victims will finally get their chance to testify as part of a civil case set to begin in Florida state court Dec. 4.
More details about the case and Acosta’s deal could also come out in another lawsuit that alleges Acosta and his cohorts in the US Attorney’s Office conspired with Epstein and his legal team to avoid publicity and trick his victims.
One of the victims in that lawsuit, Courtney Wild, was just 14 years old when she met Epstein.