Notorious billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been arrested on sex trafficking charges in New York. The arrest comes after months of litigation linked to Epstein’s controversial plea bargain over a decade ago. Ongoing litigation over sealed records recently led to an order to unseal, including material linked to Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz who has denied allegations that the underaged girls were ordered to sleep with him. Epstein is accused of trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005. He will appear in court in New York on Monday,
I have previously written about the disgraceful sweetheart deal given to Epstein. The deal was struck by Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta and not only succeeded in protecting Epstein from serous jail time but protecting a host of high-profile friends including Bill Clinton who were regulars at his infamous island resort. The problem is that the investigation is not being handled by the Inspector General but the oft-criticized DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility. OPR is routinely criticized for its defense of accused officials, even in some indefensible circumstances. For critics, it often seems more like OPR offers more cover than scrutiny in controversies over prosecutorial abuse. Moreover, the Epstein scandal involves serious questions of corrupt influence by powerful friends of Epstein. Such questions require serious investigative measures. OPR is more likely to find that the deal was within the scope of permissible decisions by a prosecutor like Acosta despite being widely ridiculed as an utter disgrace.
Epstein was notorious for his infamous “Lolita Express” where he took friends like Bill Clinton by plane to his private estate on the Caribbean island of Little Saint James with young girls who allegedly were used as prostitutes.
Despite a strong case for prosecution, Epstein’s lawyers, including Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr, were able to secure a ridiculous deal with prosecutors. He was accused of abusing more than forty minor girls (with many between the ages of 13 and 17). Sasse is correct, the handling of the case is a disgrace but it is unlikely to result in any real punishment. Certainly not for Epstein who pleaded guilty to a Florida state charge of felony solicitation of underage girls in 2008 and served a 13-month jail sentence. Moreover, to my lasting surprise, the Senate approved the man who cut that disgraceful deal, former Miami U.S. attorney Alexander Acosta, as labor secretary. The Senate did not seem to care that Acosta betrayed these victims and protected a serial abuser. In other words, everyone was protected–the powerful Johns, Epstein, the prosecutors–just not the victims who were never consulted before Epstein got his sweetheart deal.
After the deal, it was revealed that not only did Clinton take the “Lolita Express” more than previously stated but that he notably told his Secret Service details not to come on the trips to what some called “Orgy Island.” Clinton was not the only fan of Epstein. President Donald Trump referred to him as a “terrific guy” in 2002, saying that “he’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Epstein will now be reportedly charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. Those charges could produce a sentence of 45 years in prison if Epstein were convicted.