Alex Acosta to address his role in Epstein sexual abuse scandal

Jeffrey Epstein

Federal authorities said in an indictment filed on Monday that Epstein sexually abused and exploited dozens of girls, some as young as 14, in NY and Florida.

As we note often in response to news of arrests and criminal charges filed against defendants, Epstein is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system - or until such time as he may wish to enter a plea in connection with any of the charges filed against him.

According to court records in Florida, authorities say at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein's Palm Beach mansion for what turned into sexual encounters after female fixers looked for suitable girls locally and in Eastern Europe and other parts of the world.

In an interview with CBS News, the attorney said he had no reason to believe Epstein was guilty, despite allegations he had molested 40 minor females.

Epstein is charged with running a sex trafficking ring involving teenaged girls.

"Jeffrey Epstein and his buddy, fellow accused child rapist, Trump", wrote the account that published the image. The lawsuit was later withdrawn.

Many are watching to see if Trump's name appears in documents due to be unsealed today. Trump vehemently denied the rape claims, Buzzfeed reported, and later that year the woman dropped the case.

The two were certainly friendly.

Epstein, once a friend of Britain's Prince Andrew, former US President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump, was previously accused of abusing dozens of teenage girls between 1999 and 2007.

"He's a lot of fun to be with", Trump then said, "It is even said that he likes handsome women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side".

The federal 2007 non-prosecution agreement in Florida, where Acosta was serving as a US attorney, allowed Epstein to reach a plea deal in 2008 on a lesser prostitution offense and serve 13 months in a county jail, with leave during the day.

"While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims - now young women", Mr Berman said.

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On Monday, the USA attorney in Manhattan said it was not bound by the plea deal and accused Epstein of luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, and coercing them into sex acts.

As a United States attorney in Florida more than a decade ago, Acosta negotiated a non-prosecution deal with the multimillionaire Epstein for similar charges, described as a "deal of a lifetime" by an investigative report in the Miami Herald previous year.

Unlike other convicted sex offenders, Epstein didn't face the kind of rough justice that child sex offenders do in Florida state prisons.

Former Trump Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said in February that the White House was looking into Acosta's role in the settlement. "I was told Epstein "belonged to intelligence" and to leave it alone", he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. He is now weighing whether to invalidate the deal.

"The woman, who we shall refer to as "the Recruiter", tried to befriend her", the court papers said.

It was not immediately clear whether that case and the new charges involved the same victims, since almost all have remained anonymous.

The non-prosecution agreement, examined in detail in a series of stories in The Miami Herald, is being challenged in federal court in Florida.

"The alleged behavior shocks the conscience", Berman said of Epstein, who was arrested over the weekend when he flew back to the US from Paris on his private jet.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges. The Justice Department has said Attorney General Barr is recused from the matter because of his prior employment with the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, which represented Epstein at the time.

Epstein knew numerous girls were underage, authorities alleged.

Epstein owns a private island in the Caribbean, homes in Paris and New York City, a New Mexico ranch, and a fleet of high-price cars.

"Preserving the innocence of children is one of the most important responsibilities we carry as adults", argued William Sweeney, head of New York's Federal Bureau of Investigation office.

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