Questions for Labor Secretary Acosta Over Sweetheart Deal to Sexual Predator

Questions for Labor Secretary Acosta Over Sweetheart Deal to Sexual Predator February 22, 2019

For those who have been reading for a bit, you may remember that I covered the ugly case of Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier (and party pal to Presidents Trump and Clinton) who was given a maddeningly lenient sentence back in 2008.

Epstein was credibly charged with sex trafficking teen girls and using them as “entertainment” at parties on his various properties and with a host of other wealthy men.

Epstein’s great fortune came by way of then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta.

Acosta, the guy who was supposed to be prosecuting Epstein’s horrendous case basically gave this sexual predator a slap on the wrist. A nonprosecution deal was struck, and Epstein was only required to do 13 months of detention, in a Palm Beach, Florida jail, with almost daily work release, and his own, personal security detail.

He pleaded guilty to state charges for one victim, paid out settlements to others, and is now registered as a sex offender.

He basically got to live his normal life, with the only thing really missing being the underaged sex parties he’d throw for all his creepy pals.

And for those rolling all this horror over in your minds right now, this is where I point out that Alex Acosta is currently serving as President Trump’s pick for Labor Secretary.

Not a bad bump up for someone who perverted the path of justice in such a treacherous manner. He failed those young girls.

Did I mention that the Labor Secretary is involved in overseeing and identifying potential cases of human sex trafficking?

No, this is not parody. It only feels that way.

So why is this back in the news?

It’s in the news because Acosta screwed up, and Epstein’s victims still need justice.

 White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Friday that the administration is “looking into” Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s role in securing a lenient plea deal for politically connected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that a judge said was illegally concealed from his dozens of victims.

“My understanding is it is a very complicated case, certainly something we’re looking into,” Sanders told reporters a day after a federal judge in Florida ruled that prosecutors, led by Acosta, had broken the law by signing a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein without notifying his sex abuse victims.

That’s right. The victims did not have an advocate in court. They did not have a voice. This was a sweetheart deal worked out between the Acosta and a disgusting pedophile.

Acosta was supposed to be watching out for them and the rule of law. He did not.

Would this deal have still been struck, were Epstein not wealthy, or politically connected?

I’m going to guess the answer to that is a resounding, “NO!”

Sanders said she believed prosecutors “made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at the time, but again, that’s something we’re looking into.” Asked if President Donald Trump still had confidence in Acosta, Sanders said, “We’re looking into the matter but I’m not aware of any changes.”

Donald Trump has previously said of his buddy, Epstein, that he always had beautiful women around him, and some of them were “on the young side.”

Yeah. You can say that, again.

So what, exactly, is he saying today, now that he’s president?

Asked directly by reporters later in the day if he had any “concerns” about Acosta, Trump said, “I don’t know much about it. He’s done a great job as labor secretary. That seems like a long time ago.”

Ask the victims if it has been a long time ago.

Acosta was actively involved in the negotiations, according to documents that were introduced into evidence in a lawsuit by two victims who said their rights were violated. That included an email between Acosta and one of Epstein’s lawyers, former Whitewater special prosecutor Ken Starr, where he agreed to temporarily hold off on sending out victim notification letters at Starr’s request.

Still, Acosta feels he did nothing wrong.

Acosta downplayed his office’s actions at his Senate confirmation hearing last year, testifying “There was a time when keeping something confidential was less of an issue, but the public expectation today is that things be very public.”

Yes, it’s hard to keep those dirty deals in the shadows, these days. Some of these prosecutors might have to actually do their jobs.

 

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  • ClanSutherland

    I predict Acosta will stay out of jail, but R. Kelly will go to prison.
    I predict Harvey Weinstein won’t go to jail, but Bill Cosby did.
    Because white men are given a pass for their sex crimes in this country.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    The system of laws we have in the US is color-blind and gender-blind unless those that have taken an oath to faithfully uphold those laws abandon their own oaths they swear to the people upon taking their jobs.

    Your predictions are (at best) racist – just as racist (if not more so) than the accusations you are making against the prosecutors that have sworn to uphold the law.

    In other words, why should anyone care that the prosecutors are racist if you’re going to pre-judge them and make that determination with no evidence whatsoever to back up your claims.? If YOU are allowed to make racist prejudiced accusations against the prosecutors, why should THEY not be equally justified in applying race considerations to their job performance ?

  • Brian Orion

    I can *understand* Acosta’s cowardice. That oligarch perv Epstein is vastly more powerful than he is and he could have had Acosta’s career on a platter in a heartbeat. That doesn’t mean I *sympathize* with him at all. When you are in a position such as Acosta’s, sworn to protect society’s weakest from society’s most depraved, you bite the bullet and do what is right no matter what.

  • Re: “Sanders said she believed prosecutors “made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at the time, but again, that’s something we’re looking into.””

    I wish a reporter would have asked Sanders who or what persuaded her to believe this malarkey she is spewing. The White House’s claim of looking into this matter does nothing to assuage my concerns when they felt it necessary to first give an opinion which contradicts both common sense and the known facts. It appears as if they have already reached a conclusion before the investigation has even begun.

    “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Sherlock Holmes

  • AJ

    I agree with your assessment, IP. Justice is correctly depicted with a blindfold because Justice is blind; she sees neither color, gender, fame, nor bank accounts. The problem is that those who work on Justice’s behalf are all too human and miss the mark (in this case, BIG time). When the rule of law is followed and Justice is allowed to prevail, then the innocent win, and the guilty face punishment. That said, yes, there are times when certain factions of society get away with crimes when others are held accountable. Again, the fault lies with those who perpetrate the system NOT the system itself.

    And in this day and time, our jury system is made up of a microcosm of ALL people in this country: blacks, whites, men, women, left, right… So, if one person gets away with a crime when another must pay, going straight to the “racist” or what-have-you fallback doesn’t really stick. Unfortunately, fallible people very often defer to money or power, as I believe happened in this case. Those poor girls (most of whom, I believe, are white) didn’t get the justice they deserved because their tormentor (a white man) has deep pockets and access to very powerful or notable people all around the world—NOT because the rule of law or Justice failed them but because a despicably weak man was allowed to pervert the legal system by other weak or uninformed people involved in the case.

    Imperfect people are behind the errors in this case (and in others) and are to be blamed. Nothing else. So, can we PLEASE stop reverting to the cry of Racist or Racism for every little injustice, infraction, or perceived wrong? It’s an old chestnut that needs to be put out to pasture. (And, yes, I know. I mixed my metaphors.)

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Of course they reached a conclusion before considering the facts. Epstein was a good friend of Trump’s and Trump is directing the nonsense coming out of Sanders’ mouth.

    She has no more idea of why she is uttering her nonsense than we do when we hear it. This is “Trump’s version” of the news and what he would spew on the American Public in the place of factual reporting or confirmation of reports or fact checking. This nonsense would be what Trump would refer to as “Real News” instead of the “Fake” kind that is reported after investigation and that is dependent on the facts in the case.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    The more Acosta “accommodates” those in power, the weaker his political position actual becomes as people see more and more clearly that he can not only be bought, but that when he is bought off, he has no compunction about subverting our entire system of justice for his own personal gain. This type of man (once identified) should NEVER be allowed near the levers of power.

    Trump’s election is one that I believe MANY Americans will live to regret. I only hope those Americans learn from the mistake of allowing Trump into the oval office and select future political leaders for their leadership potential: truth, honesty, vision, maturity, intelligence, communication skills and demonstrated integrity and honor as the bare-bones basics. Additional features would include service in the military so he/she understands their role as Commander-in-Chief, and prior government service so the American people are comfortable that he understands the basic concepts underlying our Constitution: No-one is above the law, voting is NOT a right to be granted to non-citizens, illegal aliens do NOT improve our economy (when 63% or more of them are on welfare), the President is NOT a king, but an administrator with responsibility to uphold the laws passed by Congress – not to bypass Congress and rule by EO, pen and phone.

  • JASmius

    Oh, I think Miss Piggy knows exactly why she is uttering her nonsense: it’s her job description. Sarah Colonel Sanders is as soulless as she is difficult to look at.

  • JASmius

    “The administration is ‘looking into’ Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s role in securing a lenient plea deal for politically connected sex offender Jeffrey Epstein” translates to “Looks like they’ve finally caught up to Alex, so we had better start the process of distancing the president from him if we can’t make this problem go away in the mean time. So what’s Judge Marra’s price tag?”

  • JASmius

    Neither party’s voters want truth, vision, maturity, intelligence, demonstrated integrity, or honor in their political leaders. All of those virtues are considered “weak” and obstacles to “winning”. “Winning” is all either side cares about. They want vices, not virtues. The bipartisan consensus view is that virtues are for “losers”. That’s why American politics is a race to the bottom in which anything goes, no holds are barred, no tactic is out of bounds, and the Constitution and the rule of law are obstacles to be bypassed and/or outright eviscerated.

    You describe what absolutely should be; but what should be is not what is, and won’t be again for a long, long time, if ever.

    But Trumplicans and Democrats do value “communications skills”. All the better to get out their respective “versions” of the “news”.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I have to believe that our “race to the bottom” will end sooner rather than later – if for no other reason than that it simply cannot be sustained for more than one or two more presidential elections without open armed revolt by the one or the other of the two highly polarized, highly emotion-driven major parties and that the vast majority of citizens are realizing that BOTH major parties have lost control and are running amok with neither party giving any thought to the long-term stability of this nation or of our government.

    Ted Cruz ran his campaign in 2015-2016 based on a return to Constitutional limits & values & quite handily beat all GOP comers save Trump. It is still disputed whether Trump had illegal help, but we know for sure now (from Congressional hearings, admissions, and investigative reporters) that Russia was heavily involved in manipulating facebook and twitter and other social-media apps to get Trump elected. Would Trump have won the primary without Russia’s help ? I think it’s unlikely. Would Trump have been able to heavy-handedly manipulate the GOP convention, violating the GOP’s own by-laws in the process the way he & the RNC did without Russia’s help in revving up the social-media emotional levels for revenge at any cost ? Again – I think it’s unlikely. There have already been reports that the RNC wants to / has changed their own rules to make it almost impossible for any primary challenger to gain traction against Trump. If that plays out and becomes visible or if the Trump campaign attempts to dominate air-time like he did in 2016 through subversion of major media outlets, I can see a massive spontaneous rejection of Trump within the conservative community.

    In the next convention, I predict that Trump may now control the GOP and will childishly get what he wants from the GOP, but I ALSO predict that the GOP is not NEARLY the size it was in 2016 and may just prove to be irrelevant in the 2020 elections due to the large number of people that experienced buyer’s remorse for voting for Trump and that have left the GOP for other parties (or no party).

    Will these “wilderness (ex-)Republicans” (wilderness Conservatives ?) have a party to vote FOR in 2020 ? Not likely. Will they vote Democrat in an attempt to reduce the damage from Trump ? Some of them undoubtedly will. Will they be swayed by the GOP fear campaign that is already ramping up (fear of the socialist Democrats) ? Some, but I don’t think large numbers will be as I think most will weigh the damage potential between the Obama Socialism and the Trump childishness, vindictiveness, and paranoia and will avoid voting for GOP candidates (of any office).

    Does my calculus change if Trump is impeached or decides not to run in 2020 ? Yes. In that case, I expect Ted Cruz to try to run again as well as most of the 2016 field of perennial Republican progressives, but I don’t think the conservative base will (by and large) fall for the same fear tactics and binary-choice / lesser-of-two-evils election campaigns that the GOP ran in 2015/2016 – so again – I think the GOP will again manipulate the convention to top-down force the candidate they want, but the voting conservatives may well reject the RNC choice and either vote 3rd party or simply stay home with the result being GOP losses in 2020 that exceed those in the midterms.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I wouldn’t know. I no longer listen to the WH press conferences, knowing that they are nothing more than a mouthpiece for the word-salad vomited from Trump’s nether region (like most politicians, he has two). Since the WH press briefings are basically Trump’s formal interface with the press, I do not expect them to be any more realistic than Trump himself – which is to say not at all.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I can only hope the judge’s price tag is high enough to set Trump off on another tantrum/tirade and higher than Trump can afford to pay. There are enough judges and prosecutors for sale in DC – we don’t need any more….. The more temper-fits Trump throws, the more the republicans are getting fed up with his antics and denials and the more the press, any primary challengers & Democrats will have to work with in 2020.

    OTOH, while I believe your assessment / translation is accurate. I’d have probably translated closer to “Looks like they’re going to be successful in tying Epstein to Trump and then to Trump’s pick of Acosta as Labor Secretary (appearance of pay-back), so we need to start doing damage-control NOW while watching out for ‘sabotage tweets’ from Trump’s twitter account.”

    But your translation works too and is somewhat more easily defendable by the facts already made public

  • Annemarie

    I had missed the Epstein story when it first happened. Your post was the first I’d heard of it. And there are no words for what happened to those girls. Well, there probably are words but I think they violate your comment policy. Thank you for covering the story.

    I must admit I was surprised to see that Kenneth Starr was on Epstein’s legal defense team.

  • Stephen

    Twenty five years ago I was on the Republican Executive Committee for my county. Have long since left that as the party drifted away from it’s historic values. When it look like Trump was going to win the primary I finally changed parties to Democrat. Voting third party does not make effective resistance. I see more grey than you do. But basically agree with most of your premises. The Republican Party is not nearly as big as before. But Democrats should realize that there are many former Republicans in their party now. The leftward lurch may be complicated by that.

  • Stephen
  • IllinoisPatriot

    “The leftward lurch may be complicated by that.”

    I doubt it seriously. The problem is the Republicans that are now voting Democrat are showing the same level of disrespect for and rejection of any principles they might have had and the same bad judgement as Trump himself shows whenever he intentionally does something self-destructive (like talk publicly about nuclear first strike or “winning” trade wars) then wonders why he gets backlash.

    Voting for the Democrat platform is no less destructive than voting for another 4 years of Trump. The Democrats will only take your vote as affirmation that their leftward lurch is what “America” wants, and then will lurch further into socialism and perversion and denial of individual and religious liberties while manufacturing more “rights” like that of the Democrats recent “bill of rights” (right to free housing, right to free education, right to a good-paying job, etc). It is simply not possible to vote AGAINST a party in our system. You have to cast a vote for your protest to even be registered (all non-vote protests are considered simply “no-shows” and create opportunities for ballot-stuffing by having the ‘vote-counters’ record their preference on your ballot. Voting for “the other side” will only result in affirmation that they were right and a further leftward-lurch (whether it be regressive Republicans or regressive Democrats).

    The ONLY way to signal that BOTH parties are unsatisfactory and that BOTH parties need to be replaced is to vote and to vote 3rd-party so that NEITHER party gets your vote. All other options are some form of the binary-choice fallacy (“Not voting for my guy is a vote for the other guy”) or the lesser-of-two-evils fallacy (where you are still voting for evil). Staying home is not an option as it opts out of adjusting the final percentages of the polling. Voting 3rd party decreases the final percentage vote totals from both major parties and this is the ONLY action that will actually penalize BOTH parties. Voting 3rd party is only futile if you buy into the false arguments that somehow voting for the “lesser of two evils” is somehow not voting for an evil or that not voting for the Democrat is a vote for Trump. Personally, I reject both arguments.

  • That certainly appears to be the case. It speaks volumes of the Trump admin that Acosta’s incompetence and impiety (at best) never caused any real concern when they vetted him. If it had, they should be able to unequivocally defend their choice now instead of deferring to some future investigation that may or may not happen.

    Given Trump’s long established modus operandi , this “looking in to it” is more than likely a stall for time until the media moves onto the next scandal and the people forget about it.

  • Stephen

    You can split your ticket. There use to be conservatives in the Democratic party. That can happen again. Hispanics are the fastest growing demographic voting group. They are socially conservative on many issues. Democrats have been more fiscally conservative than Republicans for many decades. At least they figure out how to pay for their spending.

    I have been around long enough to know what conservative really is as well as centralist and progressive. I am in the middle but called a liberal by those who think white nationalism is conservative. The Republican party is white , older and many are into white nationalism. They are monolithic. The Democrat party is diverse, younger, composed of many elements and segments. The whole range of political philosophy is present. They must compromised so they end up closer to the political center.

    When the ACA was being debated many in the Democrat party wanted straight out socialistic health care. Many other Democrats did not. So we ended up with the very conservative reform that the Heritage Foundation developed and Mitt Romney implemented in Massachusetts. We are not France or Norway. We need a system more like Germany’s or Switzerland’s. Going full on socialist may of saved money but was impractical because of the number of people making their living in the present system. It was too disrupted so a less radical approach was and is needed. To keep the current system as is and increase the number of people cover. Later make another incremental changes. This is part of what a conservative does. Incremental change not radical change.

    Usually conservatives believe in incremental change something much more likely in the Democrat party. But change the health care system must be done because we pay way too much for less quality care and do not cover everyone.
    This is long enough but obviously I do not see Democrats as a threat to religious liberty. And as automation goes along we are not going to need every available worker who wants or needs a job. Some sort of universal income maybe eventually be needed. Having a job may become a hotly chased privilege in the future. At least the Democrats are more prone to address this.

  • Mother124

    But…but….Donald Trump only hires the BEST people!!!

  • sometypeofguy

    nit picking a little bit: I’d leave her looks out of it. her lies are what matter. She can’t help her genes.

  • sometypeofguy

    If there’s one place where it’s still apt to point out racism, it’s the American Justice system. You say the system is not broken and that only the people are imperfect. But since the system is administered by and comprised of people, that’s not a distinction.

    Just a few examples that show or at least strongly suggest racism:

    Research shows that prosecutors are twice as likely to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence for black people charged with drug offenses as for white people charged with the same offense.

    Studies in MD, NC, NJ, and IN (probably more states too; those were the ones I had time to skim) showed that defendants on death row whose victims are white are more likely to receive the death penalty than those whose victims are not white.

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/resource/drug-war-mass-incarceration-and-race-englishspanish

    https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/race-and-death-penalty

    Lastly, and I’m not sure what to make of this graph, but the CDC claims that Native Americans and blacks are killed by law enforcement at a higher rate than whites. This stat surprised me as I’m used to conservatives saying BLM makes up “fake” numbers. But it is from the CDC. (FWIW The Guardian reports black men killed at a 5x higher rate than white men in the same age group).

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/10/us/native-lives-matter/index.html

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/31/the-counted-police-killings-2015-young-black-men

  • sometypeofguy

    “But Democrats should realize that there are many former Republicans in their party now.”

    As a moderate Dem, I find this heartening.