US government officials have cleared prosecutors who cut Jeffrey Epstein (pictured right with ex Ghislaine Maxwell) off the hook, but said they showed ‘poor judgement’ in doing so (Pictures: AP/Getty)
A former aide of Donald Trump who cut Jeffrey Epstein a notoriously easy plea deal for child sex abuse has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
A Justice Department investigation whose findings were released Thursday say that prosecutors who handled a 2008 case against the notorious child sex abuser exercised ‘poor judgement’ but did not break the law.
Their statement added that Epstein’s victims ‘were not treated with the forthrightness and sensitivity expected by the department.’
Former US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta – who served under President Trump from 2017 to 2019 – was the prosecutor who helped cut the deal, and was singled out for the ‘poor judgement’ criticism from government officials.
Former US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, pictured with Donald Trump, was the prosecutor who cut the deal for Epstein (Picture: AP)
NBC News reported that prosecutors were cleared over their handling of a case related to Epstein’s abuse of dozens of teenage girls at his mansion in West Palm Beach, Florida, during the early 2000s.
He was given a plea deal which saw charges against him reduced so that he only had to admit to soliciting prostitution from a single underage victim. The predator financier was spared a potentially years-long prison sentence as a result.
He was handed a 13 month prison sentence, served at a comfortable jail, and was allowed to leave to go to work in his office each day. The deal also saw Epstein – whose pals included Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump – avoid a far more serious federal prosecution.
The victims involved in the 2008 case were briefed of the US Justice Department’s findings on in Miami on Thursday morning, and have yet to comment.
Epstein’s alleged victims include Virginia Roberts Giuffre, pictured between Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell in 2001 (Picture: Rex)
But Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse condemned the findings of the Justice Department investigation, saying: ‘Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t “poor judgment” – it is a disgusting failure.
‘Americans ought to be enraged.’
Epstein hanged himself in a Manhattan prison in August 2019 aged 66 while awaiting separate child sex charges.
His ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell is currently being held at a Brooklyn jail over allegations she groomed girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse, and joined in the abuse herself.
The French-born British socialite denies the charges against her, and will stand trial in July 2021.
Developing story, check back for updates
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