Hold Them Accountable!

It’s a very good thing that prosecutors let Jeffrey Epstein skate on charges in 2008. Well, that good thing comes at a cost, the cost being an unknown number of other teenaged girls being sexually abused, but maybe, just maybe, some real good can come of this. From The Miami Herald:

Lead U.S. prosecutor in ’08 Epstein case — who sources say wanted to charge him — resigns

BY Julie K Brown and Jay Weaver | August 8, 2019 07:38 PM | Updated August 9, 2019 2:48 PM

A. Marie Villafaña, the lead federal prosecutor who helped negotiate a controversial plea deal for accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, has submitted her resignation to the Justice Department, the Miami Herald has learned.

Her departure comes amid a federal probe into the role she and other federal prosecutors, including her former boss, Alexander Acosta, had in sidelining a 53-page indictment against the wealthy New York investor in favor of a state plea to minor prostitution charges in 2008. Epstein, 66, was accused of molesting dozens of underage girls, most of them 14 to 16 years old, at his Palm Beach mansion more than a decade ago. He is now facing federal sex trafficking charges involving minors brought against him last month by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) is examining whether Acosta, who resigned his cabinet post as secretary of labor last month — and other U.S. prosecutors involved in the 2007-2008 case — committed misconduct in negotiating the secret pact with Epstein. A federal judge in February ruled that the prior deal was illegally negotiated because Epstein and federal prosecutors concealed it from his victims in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

The Herald has learned that several people involved in the Epstein case have been questioned by the Justice Department in recent weeks as part of its ongoing OPR investigation.

There’s more at the original, but Mrs Villafaña is the last member of the federal investigation team who is still employed by the Department of Justice.

Mr Epstein was given special treatment during his incarceration in 2009, being allowed to work in his office on work release, being chauffeured, and allowed to sleep with his cell door open when he was in jail. While the story says nothing about money changing hands, the mollycoddled treatment he received certainly raises questions about it. Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL):

ordered a criminal investigation into the state’s handling of the Epstein case, from his sentencing in 2008 to his incarceration and probation in 2009. In 2006, former Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer declined to prosecute Epstein on serious sex charges, which led to the U.S. Attorney and FBI taking over the case in 2007.

My website, The First Street Journal, has a long series called Hold Them Accountable, in which we have urged that government officials who treat criminals too leniently or release them too soon be held responsible for the crimes that those criminals commit at times when they should have still been locked up. If these investigations concerning the lenient treatment Mr Epstein received result in criminal convictions and prison time, it will send a message to other law enforcement officials: if you don’t do your jobs right, you, too, can go to jail.

And I’m guessing that prosecutors, policemen and sheriffs who wind up in jail will not have a pleasant experience therein.

It’s a shame that there were (probably) more young teenagers (allegedly) raped and sexually abused and held as virtual slaves by Mr Epstein and his cronies, but past episodes of lenient behavior like this: several Philadelphia Police officers went to early graves because weak-willed judges gave out too lenient sentences and prosecutors let criminals off too easily, but somehow dead cops don’t quite resonate the way abused pretty girls do. Repugnant as it is to say, maybe we needed to have those additional victims abused to get something done.

If Mr Epstein is convicted, he’ll spend the rest of his miserable life locked up. Of course, that could have been the case starting in 2008, but some people didn’t do their jobs. They need to be held accountable for the injuries done to Mr Epstein’s (alleged) victims during that time.
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