There is a curious pattern in the Trump Administration that you need to beware of presidential praise which often proves the swan song for cabinet members. The latest is Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta who tried to keep his job with a press conference that was widely panned as trying to shift the blame for the sweetheart deal that he gave Jeffrey Epstein, the serial sex abuser. Since I previously called for Acosta’s resignation (and opposed his confirmation) based on his role in the Epstein scandal, I will not feign sympathy.
Acosta phoned President Trump this morning, though it is likely that the White House indicated that it would welcome such a call.
Previously, President Trump declared that he continued to support Acosta and that “he did an unbelievable job as secretary of Labor” and is a “very good man.” Various pundits joked at the time that Acosta’s day must be numbered.
It is important to note that, despite the objections of many of us who have followed the Epstein scandal, Acosta was confirmed by 60 Senators from both parties.
I am usually more sympathetic when people fall from a great height but Acosta’s press conference only reaffirmed the negative view that many of us have developed of Acosta. He blamed state prosecutors and even seemed to portray 2007 as the virtual dark ages when victim rights and transparency were unknown values. His plea bargain was a disgrace and violated federal law. The result worked to the harm of dozens of victims and undermined the integrity of the justice system as a whole. The real question is not why he resigned but why 60 Democratic and Republican senators voted to confirm this man.
It is also another example of poor decision making by this White House to bring on such a controversial figure and then allow this scandal to fester and explode back on the Administration. This is the thirteenth cabinet member to leave this Administration. In the same period, I believe that Obama and George W. Bush had none or one, respectively. While Trump has lashed out at the media, this turnover shows something serious wrong in the vetting and judgment of the White House. The turnover and vacancies have added to a sense of chaos in the Administration.
58 thoughts on “Acosta Resigns Amid Mounting Questions Over Role In Epstein Scandal”
An interesting OP-ed from Dershowitz on Acosta that should be considered. Will Acosta’s resignation achieve a higher form of justice or not. Dershowitz renders his thoughts.
Acosta’s Resignation May Result in More Losses for Prosecutors by Alan M. Dershowitz
Consider the situation of a prosecutor today or tomorrow who has a weak federal case involving sexual allegations. He has two options: the first is he can try to make a deal based on the relative strength of his case and of the defense case. But if he makes that deal, he risks criticism for being too soft on sex offenders. His second option is to take the weak case to trial and risk losing. But even if he loses, the risks to him personally are less great because he can blame the loss on the judge or the jury. A deal, on the other hand, is totally attributed to the prosecutor, as evidenced by the Acosta resignation. So, a simple cost-benefit analysis will incline a prosecutor to litigate rather than settle.
The forced resignation of Alex Acosta based on the plea deal that he made with Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers (of which I was one) may have serious unintended effects on our system of criminal justice. The criticism of Acosta — whether warranted or not — for making the deal will cause other prosecutors to go to trial in relatively weak cases in which the chances of losing are considerable.
The deal accepted by Acosta was based on the weakness of the government’s federal case. In order for sex with underage persons to be prosecuted federally, as distinguished from prosecution by a state, there has to be compelling evidence of an interstate nexus. Merely having sex with underage females in a local context does not constitute a federal crime. In the Epstein case, this would have required credible testimony or documentary evidence proving transportation of underage females in interstate commerce, or the use of interstate communications such as telephone calls, emails, or the wiring of funds. There was scant evidence of such an interstate nexus in the Epstein case at the time the deal was made. Perhaps there is more now, but that remains to be seen.
At the time the deal was made, there was a relatively strong state case in Palm Beach County, but the federal case was chancy, as Acosta said in his statement. A judge might have dismissed the case or a jury may have found against the government.
Instead of taking the chance of losing the case, Acosta did what many prosecutors do: they compromise based on the relative strength of the prosecution and the defense. The compromise in this case was worked out by Acosta’s assistants and then approved by Acosta and higher-ups in the justice department. There were few red flags at the time, but with the benefit of hindsight, Monday morning quarterbacks have piled on Acosta.
This article, however, is not about Acosta. I hold no brief for him. This is about the impact of Acosta’s forced resignation on current and future prosecutors. Consider the situation of a prosecutor today or tomorrow who has a weak federal case involving sexual allegations. He has two options: the first is he can try to make a deal based on the relative strength of his case and of the defense case. But if he makes that deal, he risks criticism for being too soft on sex offenders. His second option is to take the weak case to trial and risk losing. But even if he loses, the risks to him personally are less great because he can blame the loss on the judge or the jury. A deal, on the other hand, is totally attributed to the prosecutor, as evidenced by the Acosta resignation.
So, a simple cost-benefit analysis will incline a prosecutor to litigate rather than settle.
Today, more than 90 percent of federal criminal cases are settled by a plea bargain. This includes sexual assault cases. In the post-Acosta world, those numbers may well go down, especially in sexual assault cases. The inevitable result will be more trials and more acquittals.
It might be argued that the Epstein case is unique and that other prosecutors will still continue to make deals in weak cases. It will be impossible to quantify the impact of the Acosta resignation on current and future cases, but experienced lawyers with whom I have discussed the case — both prosecutors and defense attorneys — worry that the thumb of media and political pressure will be placed on the scales of justice when it comes to the exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the decision to try or settle a case.
There are traditions and guidelines in the Justice Department that mandate that criminal cases should not be brought to trial unless there is a substantial likelihood of a conviction. That is why federal prosecutors have such a high rate of success in litigating cases — over 90%. In the post-Acosta world, prosecutors will bring cases to trial even if the likelihood of a conviction is questionable, as it was in the Epstein case. The result of this change will be more trials, more crowded courtroom dockets and fewer convictions. That is not good for defendants, victims or for the rule of law.
The most significant thing stated at Acosta’s brief appears to have gone ignored by all the big media, what the DOJ DC main told him…
This quote from Acosta, cited in a July 9, 2019, Daily Beast article, “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone.” Will the Breathless Ones on the Sunday gab fests be lasering in on this?
Rest of article at https://www.theepochtimes.com/justice-department-sat-on-mountain-of-epstein-evidence-for-10-years_2996970.html
Other loose ends will now be ignored as the MSM newshounds “got another one”. The local DA at the time will be permitted to get away with his accusation that it was entirely Acosta’s doing when the local police chief already said DA Kirscher didn’t want to file any charges at all.
The comparison with the Obama admin is laughable. Obama’s “Wing Man” Holder let all the banksters who crashed the economy off without even an investigation, protected the cartel money-launderers with civil fines for what should have been life sentences, and failed to do anything about the oxy-pushing drug companies who are now being sued by a majority of the state AGs (Eric Holder now serves as defense counsel for one of the pharma defendants). And has the “Fast and Furious” scandal already gone down the Memory Hole? Oh only a body count in the 100s and an IG report stating that the DOJ lied to Congress. Those interested may peruse the report online
the admission of deceit is at the end in Appendix F. The verbal gymnastics are comical.
OT: We have included Sweden in multiple discussions so I thought some might be interested.
“Sweden is at War”
by Judith Bergman • July 13, 2019 at 5:00 am
In 2017, a Swedish police report, “Utsatta områden 2017” (“Vulnerable Areas 2017”) showed that there are 61 such areas — also known as no-go zones — in Sweden. They encompass 200 criminal networks, consisting of an estimated 5,000 criminals. Most of the inhabitants are non-Western immigrants and their descendants.
In March, the Swedish National Forensic Centre estimated that since 2012, the number of shootings classified as murder or attempted murder had increased by almost 100 percent.
“Sweden is at war and it is the politicians who are responsible. Five nights in a row, cars have been set on fire in the university town of Lund. Such insane acts have occurred on hundreds of occasions in various places in Sweden over the past fifteen years. From 1955 to 1985, not a single car was ignited in Malmö, Gothenburg, Stockholm or Lund…. None of these criminals is starving or lacking in access to clean water. They have a roof over their heads and they have been offered free schooling…. They do not live in dilapidated houses…. It is called upbringing and this is missing for thousands of girls and boys in Swedish homes today.” — Björn Ranelid, Swedish author, Expressen, July 5, 2019.
“Very few things were better in Sweden [before]…. We have built a strong country, where we take care of each other. Where society takes responsibility and no man is left alone”. — Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
Sadly, many Swedes probably feel terribly left alone in a country that increasingly resembles a war zone.
Continued at: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14518/sweden-is-at-war
Have to agree but I did mistake this Acosta for the other Acosta. I think I’ll let it ride for a while. It’s in another Blog
Let’s see here, a billionaire dem is accused of being a serial pediphile who also had a former dem President join in the fun with him. So now a republican cabinet member must resign. No there is not 2 sets of rules.
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