Epstein Initial Bail Hearing Reveals Another Prosecutor Who Went Easy On Him

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Alex Acosta, former US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, resigned from his position as U.S. Labor Secretary earlier this month after his handling (mishandling) of the Jeffrey Epstein case in 2007/2008 was revealed.  Acosta agreed to enter into a non-prosecution agreement (NDA) with Epstein as a condition for a plea to lesser charges in the state of Florida related to sexual encounters with minors.  Epstein would serve 13 months in state prison and was then required to register as a sex offender.

On Monday, Senior U.S. District Judge Richard Berman heard testimony from two of Epstein’s accusers saying that the centi-millionaire is a danger and should not be released from a Manhattan federal prison prior to trial.  Marty Weinberg, one of the attorneys representing Epstein, said that his client has been a law abiding citizen since the plea in Florida.  Another hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

In addition to the testimony of the two women, Judge Berman considered information from a 2011 request by a New York state district attorney who argued for Epstein’s sex registration status to be granted.  The judge in that case, NY Superior Court Judge Ruth Pickholz, (transcript of hearing is here) questioned why Epstein was being considered for such a reduction.  Assistant district attorney for New York Jennifer Gaffney, said that New York supported lowering the registry classification of Epstein, in part based on the fact that they had little information to go on from the Florida plea:

Because in Florida of all of the victims in that probable cause affidavit, they actually only went forward on one case. There was only an indictment for one victim and that is what the defendant plead to ….  So under the board guidelines, the risk assessment  interim guidelines, it actually says, you know, by way of contrast if an offender is not indicted for an offense, it is strong evidence that the offense did not occur …”

Judge Pickholz was concerned saying of the prosecutor’s request for lowering the registry requirements for Epstein;

“But the board  found a Level Three . I have to tell you, I am a little overwhelmed because I have never seen the prosecutor’s office do anything like this. I have never seen it.”READ MORE

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