Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announces he will be stepping down in one week over his past involvement in a plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein; Kevin Corke reports from the White House. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has been under fire in recent days for his involvement in a secret 2008 plea deal for wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was recently hit with new charges for alleged sex trafficking crimes. Acosta said he would resign from the Cabinet position he held since 2017 just days after Epstein's indictment. A handful of lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, had demanded Acosta to resign before he officially made the announcement on July 12. As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice.
FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA - The Justice Department has opened an investigation into federal prosecutors' handling of a plea deal in which a wealthy, politically connected financier avoided potentially severe penalties for sexually abusing teenage girls in favor of a relatively light state conviction in Florida. The department's Office of Professional Responsibility wrote in a letter Wednesday to U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, that it would examine whether professional misconduct occurred in the highly publicized case of Jeffrey Epstein. The letter cited a series of recent articles by the Miami Herald that focused new attention on how the deal came about. Sasse, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee who has twice asked the Justice Department to investigate the case, welcomed the news. "Jeffrey Epstein is a child rapist and there's not a single mom or dad in America who shouldn't be horrified by the fact that he received a pathetically soft sentence," Sasse said in an email.
NEW YORK - One of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers urged other women Tuesday to come forward with allegations against the wealthy financier as federal authorities prosecute him on sex charges. Courtney Wild told reporters at a news conference in New York that Epstein "will never stop sexually abusing children until he is in jail." "We will not get justice until you speak out," Wild said, addressing anyone who believes they have been abused by Epstein. "You are not alone, and this was not your fault." Wild's remarks came a day after she appeared in Manhattan federal court and urged a judge to deny Epstein bail.
NEW YORK - A foreign passport found in Jeffrey Epstein's Upper East Side mansion has entry stamps for France, Spain, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, prosecutors said in a court filing to counter a defense argument that there is no evidence he ever used it. Prosecutors revealed the existence of the passport during a bail hearing on Monday, saying the document had expired, but was issued sometime in the 1980s and had a picture of Epstein and a different name. They said the existence of the passport is further evidence that he should be kept in jail before trial. Defense lawyers asked a federal judge not to be swayed by the discovery of the Austrian passport, which they said Epstein had in case he was taken hostage in a hijacking when such incidents were common in travel to the Middle East in the 1980s -- not to deceive authorities. On Wednesday, prosecutors said Epstein hasn't said how he obtained the passport, and still hasn't disclosed whether he is a citizen or a legal permanent resident of a country other than the U.S. Epstein was arrested in New Jersey after stepping off his private jet from Paris and charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy.
If it surprised you when Sen. Orrin Hatch said he didn't care that prosecutors had determined that the president was implicated in a crime; if it startled you to see Rudy Giuliani--who tackled threats to society like turnstile jumpers and squeegee men--so sweatily downplay Donald Trump's illegal conduct in an interview with Chris Wallace; if you noticed Jerome Corsi doubling down on birtherism, Trump acting like Jamal Khashoggi's murder was NBD, Alan Dershowitz insisting that Michael Flynn lying to the FBI is "not a crime," Rep. Steve King endorsing white supremacists, Arnold Kopelson saying "we all did that" to a woman who claimed Les Moonves accosted her and masturbated in front of her, and Minnesota state Sen. Scott Newman dismissing Brett Kavanaugh's alleged assault of Christine Blasey Ford with "even if true, teenagers!," Frankly, I thought I was. I didn't think much could stun me. But then the Miami Herald published Julie Brown's exposé of how prosecutors cozily negotiated with Jeffrey Epstein's defense team to minimize his punishment for raping and trafficking underage girls--and presiding over a sex ring of sorts that he allegedly shared with powerful friends--and my depleted capacity for shock was refreshed. The case is exceptional, and though it's about a decade old, you might not have heard about it.