The Department of Justice is opening an internal inquiry into its 2008 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire who was accused of molesting more than 100 girls but was only sentenced to 18 months in prison, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.
Federal prosecutors had compiled a 53-page document on Epstein, a prominent Miami financier and party host, accusing him of bringing dozens of girls to his mansion or airplane and forcing them to perform sex acts. “This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’ retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter told the Herald last year.
But Epstein, represented by powerful lawyers like Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, reached a non-prosecution agreement with local U.S. District Attorney Alexander Acosta - now President Trump’s Secretary of Labor. Epstein only served 13 months in prison and had to register as a sex offender. Most of his victims were not informed about the plea bargain until they saw it on TV, a likely breach of federal law. Epstein’s deal also granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators.”
The Justice Department confirmed in a letter to Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska that an inquiry had been opened, citing the Herald’s November report exposing new details of the plea deal.
“Jeffrey Epstein is a child rapist and there’s not a single mom or dad in America who shouldn’t be horrified by the fact that he received a pathetically soft sentence,” Sasse said. “The victims of Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring deserve this investigation — and so do the American people and the members of law enforcement who work to put these kinds of monsters behind bars.”
Epstein was close friends with Trump, Bill Clinton, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Britain’s Prince Andrew, all of whom were known to have attended his parties.