Jeffrey Epstein’s 2007 plea deal that cost the New York financier a stint in county jail and forced him to register as a sex offender was “fair,” Epstein’s legal team wrote in The New York Times.
Epstein’s legal team, made up by Kenneth Starr, Martin Weinberg, Jack Goldberger and Lilly Ann Sanchez, wrote a joint op-ed Monday defending the plea deal negotiated by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, then the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The attorneys wrote the piece in response to The NYT editorial board calling for Acosta’s resignation over the deal.
“Your editorial’s conclusions are in profound conflict with the reality as we, Jeffrey Epstein’s current and former lawyers, knew it,” Epstein’s legal team wrote in response to The NYT. “Your underlying premise is that Mr. Acosta had capitulated and not filed federal charges because Mr. Epstein had a “high-priced defense team.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Bill Clinton Still Silent About Flights On Pedophile’s Sex Plane)
Epstein’s lawyers cited “significant legal impediments” to bringing federal charges against Epstein for “what was a quintessentially state case,” despite a lengthy federal indictment already put together by federal prosecutors.
“Mr. Epstein faced a 53-page federal indictment that could have put him in prison for life,” The NYT wrote in a March 1 editorial. “[Acosta’s] capitulation suggests he lacks the spine and moral decency to continue as labor secretary.”
“The government had achieved its principal objectives — a felony plea, incarceration, millions of dollars in restitution and monetary settlements, and lifetime sex offender registration,” Epstein’s legal team wrote.
A federal judge ruled Feb. 21 that the Acosta/Epstein plea deal broke federal law. Acosta and his team of prosecutors violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by keeping the terms of the plea agreement secret from Epstein’s victims until after a judge had signed off on the deal.
Epstein pleaded guilty to one count of soliciting prostitution and one count of soliciting prostitution from a minor. He was sentenced to 18 months in a county jail and a year on house arrest. He was released from jail five months early, according to the Miami Herald.
Much of Epstein’s time in jail was actually spent in his Florida offices as part of a work-release program. During his period of house arrest, Epstein took trips to New York and his house in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The plea deal also stopped an FBI investigation into Epstein’s alleged “sex ring” that could have potentially uncovered more victims, as well as unknown co-conspirators that covered up or participated in Epstein’s alleged crimes.
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