ICYMI: Sec. Alex Acosta was involved in concealment of “victim information in another underage sex crimes case”


See story from the Miami Herald below. Here’s reaction from Kyle Herrig, senior advisor to Allied Progress, which recently ran full-page ads urging the Senate to hold Sec. Acosta accountable by passing the Inspector General Access Act: “As if Secretary Acosta’s lack of judgement weren’t apparent enough, now we learn of his involvement in a second case where key parties were kept in the dark on critical details about an alleged child sex abuser. What’s worse, we now know Acosta’s office was previously reprimanded for these kinds of deceptive and underhanded tactics BEFORE he inked the secret plea deal that allowed a wealthy and politically-connected serial pedophile to avoid serious jail time and to get cushy work release privileges. That suggests Acosta knew it was wrong but did it anyways.

Herrig added, “Secretary Acosta should have resigned or been fired the day a federal judge ruled he broke the law when he kept Epstein’s victims out of the loop on that pathetic deal. But he’s still showing up to work, and we’re left to wonder what other decisions he’s making based on secret backroom deals with powerful interests. How many more reasons does the Senate need to join the House in giving the DOJ Inspector General the authority he asked for to conduct a serious investigation into this matter by passing the Inspector General Access Act? The bill remains in limbo with Senator Graham in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It’s been nearly three weeks since Graham claimed he only knew “what I’ve read in the paper” about Acosta’s misconduct and that he’d “definitely look at it.”  If the Senator is struggling to find the time to read about why the victims in this case need justice, we’d suggest he get some help by bringing the bill before the entire Judiciary Committee.”

Miami Herald: Jeffrey Epstein prosecutor was previously rebuked for handling of a child sex case
By: Emily Michot & Julie K. Brown
MARCH 14, 2019 12:18 PM

Nine months before cutting a covert plea deal with sex trafficking suspect Jeffrey Epstein, Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta was notified that the lead prosecutor in Epstein’s case had concealed victim information in another underage sex crimes case, the Miami Herald has learned.

The prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, was harshly rebuked by a federal judge in January 2007 for what he called her “intentional and/or serious lapse in judgment’’ when she failed to explicitly inform him that the defendant, a Texas man who traveled to Florida to have sex with a 14-year-old girl, had a prior history of predatory behavior with minors, court records show.

Acosta, her boss at the time, not only knew about Villafaña’s breach — records show that he subsequently defended it. Acosta assigned another prosecutor in his office to write a treatise for the judge in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade him to soften the stinging language in his order.

Senior U.S. District Court Judge William J. Zloch copied Acosta on his order, noting, “The court is at a total loss as to why the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, as well as the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the above-styled cause, found it appropriate to intentionally withhold … information from the court.’’

Later that year, Acosta and Villafaña put together a plea bargain for Epstein, a multimillionaire money manager who sexually abused nearly three dozen teenage girls at his mansion in Palm Beach. The deal, a federal judge ruled last month, was intentionally kept from his victims in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.

While the two cases are unrelated, it shows that both Acosta and Villafaña had been warned about the importance of victim disclosure in sex crimes cases before the Epstein agreement. They nevertheless forged ahead with a pact with Epstein that violated the law.

U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra wrote: “When the Government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading. While the Government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the [agreement] with Epstein’s attorneys, scant information was shared with victims.’’

This comes as Acosta, who is now the U.S. secretary of labor, is facing mounting scrutiny for his oversight of the Epstein case. On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to say whether President Trump has full confidence in Acosta, noting that Acosta’s involvement in the Epstein case is “currently under review.’’

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