Federal prosecutors sought to let multimillionaire and suspected sexual offender Jeffrey Epstein off the hook Monday by arguing that a plea deal he made should survive his victims’ efforts to squash the agreement.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Atlanta wrote in a motion filed in federal court that there is no legal reason to throw out the agreement prosecutors reached with Epstein in 2007 to settle allegations that he had solicited minors,first reported.
A judge ruled in February that federal prosecutors in Miami had violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by failing to tell Epstein’s alleged victims about the deal, according to the Herald. Atlanta’s U.S. attorney, Byung J. Pak, however, wrote in Monday’s filings that those victims have no right to recourse from the government because Congress created no specific penalties under the act.
Although Pak wrote that the Miami prosecutors had treated Epstein’s victims unfairly, he said prosecutors have discretion in how they resolve a case.
Judge Kenneth Marra will decide what happens next in the dispute over the non-prosecution agreement, according to the Herald.
The plea deal for Epstein, a former investment banker, was negotiated between his well-known attorneys — Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz — and Alexander Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami and now President Trump’s labor secretary.
Epstein, 66, served 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to two charges of felony solicitation — one involving a minor and one that did not reference a specific victim, The Washington Post previously reported.
The minor Epstein was convicted of soliciting was 16 years old when the alleged offenses began in August 2004 and was on the eve of her 18th birthday when they ended in October 2005. Federal prosecutors declined to formally accuse Epstein of soliciting several younger victims, enabling him to avoid sex-offender registration requirements in some states.
As The Post’s Beth Reinhard, Kimberly Kindy and Julie Tate wrote in March:
In some states, the age of consent is a factor in deciding whether a sex offender convicted out of state is required to register. The age of consent is 16 years old in more than half of the states, according to surveys and government reports, potentially allowing Epstein to own homes in many of those places without having to register.