This week the Senate confirmation hearing for President Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, was postponed until Wednesday, March 22. One of the topics that was expected to come up is Acosta’s role in the plea agreement for the billionaire — and alleged underage sex ring mastermind — Jeffrey Epstein.
Trump’s selection of Acosta as his Labor Secretary has raised questions about his reasoning. Acosta served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida during the trial of Epstein, in which he was accused of sexually abusing approximately 40 females, most of whom were underage at the time.
A virtual dream team of high profile attorneys was assembled by Epstein, including Alan Dershowitz, Kenneth Starr, and Roy Black.
In a letter published by The Daily Beast in 2011, Alexander Acosta describes some of the hurdles that the prosecution faced from Epstein’s legal team, including investigating individual members of Acosta’s prosecution team for personal issues that might disqualify them from the case so that the most competent members of the prosecution’s team would be eliminated.
Epstein’s lawyers also tried to challenge the credibility of many of the underage accusers by digging up dirt from their MySpace and Facebook posts.
Against the recommendations of the police, prosecutors presented the evidence to a grand jury, which resulted in a single felony charge of soliciting an underage prostitute. In 2006, Epstein pleaded guilty to the single charge, and served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a Florida prison and home detention.
The controversial plea agreement included Epstein agreeing not to contest civil claims brought by the over 40 women identified by the FBI, and prosecutors agreeing to not charge Epstein with more serious charges or charge other supposed “co-conspirators” who may have been involved in the alleged prostitution ring. Epstein would also be registered as a Level 3 sex offender, meaning that there is a high chance of a repeat offense.
Many were outraged at what seemed like a slap on the wrist for extremely serious allegations. The sex trafficking ring allegedly run by Epstein catered to some of the wealthiest and most well-connected people in the world, with some alleging that Epstein was able to use his influence to negotiate a “sweetheart” deal with prosecutors.
Epstein’s contact book, which was seized by police, reads like a who’s-who of the most powerful people in the world, including Ted Kennedy, Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump, Alec Baldwin, Naomi Campbell, and many other notable people.
Former president Bill Clinton reportedly flew in Epstein’s private jet and once praised Epstein’s “insights and generosity.”
Many of his accusers were unhappy with the plea agreement, stating that they were uninvolved in the terms of the negotiation, and have challenged it in court, stating that it had violated their rights as victims.
Alexander Acosta will likely face questions about the Epstein scandal. We may see a renewed interest in the case in the press as Acosta’s proponents attempt to shift the focus away from Acosta’s role in the Epstein plea deal, and instead on Acosta’s career highlights and Hispanic background.
As we have seen with Trump’s previous nominees, the Democrats will stop at nothing to stall every nomination. Perhaps in this case the intense scrutiny applied to each nominee can work to our advantage.
Can we harness the power of the biased and sensationalist media to demand answers as to what exactly Alexander Acosta knows about the connections between high powered elites and their connections to a child sex trafficking ring?
Will we see the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) committee fulfill its responsibility to safeguard the interest of the public against the predatory interests of the elite?
And finally, is this just a run-of-the-mill cabinet nomination, or in fact a brilliant strategy by President Trump to “drain the swamp” of criminal child abusers by exposing them during the hearing?