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Ford writes: "The labor secretary botched the Jeffrey Epstein case a decade ago-then he botched his chance to admit his mistakes. His boss must be proud."

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty)
Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. (photo: Alex Wong/Getty)

ALSO SEE: Ex-Palm Beach State Attorney: Acosta Is 'Completely Wrong'
About Epstein Plea Deal

Alexander Acosta's Trumpian Non-Apology

By Matt Ford, The New Republic

11 July 19

The labor secretary botched the Jeffrey Epstein case a decade ago—then he botched his chance to admit his mistakes. His boss must be proud.

t was already clear before this week that Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, as a federal prosecutor a decade ago, had mishandled the Jeffrey Epstein case: He gave the well-connected hedge-fund manager the deal of a lifetime for sex-trafficking underage girls, immunized his co-conspirators from potential charges, and denied his victims a chance for justice. Epstein’s arrest by federal prosecutors in Manhattan over the weekend only underscored his failure.

So perhaps there was nothing Acosta, amid mounting criticism, could have said at Wednesday’s press conference to make things right. But the proper approach, obvious to many, was to show some contrition. He could have acknowledged his mistakes and apologized for them. He could have highlighted why others shouldn’t discount victims of sexual abuse in the future as he once did. He could have even resigned.

Acosta chose another path. He gave an astonishingly Trumpian performance: admit no error, shift responsibility, and blame the media. It was an inexplicable choice as well as an ironic one, since it may not be enough to save him from the president’s mercurial whims.

Acosta, who served as the top federal prosecutor in Miami from 2005 to 2009, began by praising the Southern District of New York for arresting Epstein over the weekend. “I’m pleased that the New York prosecution is going forward,” he told reporters. “His acts are despicable and the New York prosecution affords an opportunity to more fully bring Jeffrey Epstein to justice.”

The acts described in the indictment took place between 2005 and 2007, well within the timeframe of Acosta’s handling of the case. That brought renewed scrutiny of the non-prosecution agreement struck with Epstein in 2007, which scrapped a 53-page indictment in exchange for pleading guilty to lesser state prostitution charges and registering as a sex offender. Instead of confessing error, Acosta on Wednesday gave only the most threadbare acknowledgement that he might have made mistakes. “We now have twelve years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world,” he said. Reporters failed in multiple attempts to elicit an apology from him. Asked if he has “no regrets,” he replied, “No regrets is a very hard question.”

So where did the blame lie, if not with him? Here, Acosta found no shortage of suspects. He readily pointed the finger at Florida prosecutors and law-enforcement officials. “Simply put, the Palm Beach State Attorney’s office was willing to let Epstein walk free, no jail time, nothing,” he said. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable and they became involved.” He also blamed the state for Epstein’s eventual 13-month sentence, which was largely served out of jail thanks to a generous work-release policy, instead of the 18-month sentence they had negotiated.

If Acosta was worried that Florida would go easy on Epstein, why did he later go so easy on him? This time, it’s the American people’s fault. He suggested that a jury weighing the case, prior to the rise of the #MeToo movement, might have reached the wrong conclusion. “One of those tough questions in these cases [is] what is the value of a secured guilty plea with registration versus rolling the dice?” Acosta said. “I know that in 2019, looking back on 2008, things may look different.” To whatever extent he’s right about changing cultural attitudes toward survivors of sexual assault, Americans hardly looked kindly on the exploitation and abuse of underage girls twelve years ago.

At one point, he even seemed to place the onus on the victims themselves. A reporter asked Acosta whether he had a message for the women affected by Epstein’s alleged crimes. “The message is you need to come forward,” he replied. “I heard this morning that another victim came forward and made horrendous, horrendous allegations—allegations that should never happen to any woman, much less a young girl. As victims come forward, these cases can be brought, and they can be brought by the federal government, they can be brought by state’s attorneys, and they will be brought.”

What happened in this case, however, wasn’t that the women didn’t come forward; they did. It’s that Acosta didn’t hear them. To cap off the Trumpian display, he even took a jab at the press. One of the Miami Herald’s stories on the Epstein case opens by describing how Acosta met with the hedge-fund manager’s lawyer in 2008 to hammer out the non-prosecution agreement over breakfast at a local Marriott. Was that accurate, a reporter asked Acosta? “I’ve read this, and, you know, one of the things I find interesting is how facts become facts because they’re in a newspaper, as opposed to in the public record,” he said, as if to suggest it was fake news.

He then proceeded to confirm that a similar breakfast meeting had actually occurred, though not exactly in the way it was described. Later, a Herald reporter asked why he didn’t set the record straight when the newspaper contacted him for comment multiple times before publishing the story. Acosta replied that he doesn’t comment on former cases, saying that it’s the Justice Department’s job. It’s not my fault, in other words, if reporters misprinted something after I turned down the opportunity to correct them. Contrast that with Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, who praised investigative reporters for shedding light on Epstein’s acts during his own press conference this week.

It’s doubtful whether the more subdued performance will be enough to save Acosta from dismissal. Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, reportedly urged Trump to drop Acosta before the scandal drags on any further. A growing chorus of Democrats is also demanding his departure. Acosta’s performance lacked the volcanic rage of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, whose angry, partisan remarks before the Senate Judiciary Committee last fall rallied Trump and other Republicans behind his nomination. But what it lacked in outrage, it supplied in mimicry of the man who will now decide Acosta’s fate.

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-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-11 09:44
This author is just not thinking clearly. It is impossible that a federal prosecutor in Miami could make an agreement with Epstein that would bind the entire US law enforcement from any further prosecution of Epstein and seal the records in his case forever.

That decision is way above his pay grade. This is what he said in 2017:

"He’d [Acosta] cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein’s attorneys because he had “been told” to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. “I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” he told his interviewers in the Trump transition,"

"Back off" orders from the FBI/CIA are rather common. Mark Levine resigned from the DEA because too many times when he caught a major cocaine traffickers, he was told to "back off" by the CIA. He's written several books about his experience. Maybe Acosta will too when he's out of government.

Very likely Acosta has recently been told by the FBI NEVER to mention its top secret informant agreement with Epstein. He's sort of like Carter Page who cannot mention that he was an informant for Mueller's FBI. But the records exist. Here's is one FBI record that clearly refers to the Epstein arrangement.

If you also look at the FBI's Vault data base, you can see notations of 1000s of Epstein records having been deleted.

Why did SDNY not prosecute Epstein in 2007-08?
+2 # lfeuille 2019-07-11 23:18
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-12 12:59
Ifeuille "Bullshit" Yes, it is usually in the eye of the beholder.
0 # chapdrum 2019-07-12 14:39
"Why did SDNY not prosecute Epstein in 2007-08?" Same question applies to Trump. Why would SDNY pursue Trump now if it didn't then?
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-13 08:00
chap -- I doubt if the SDNY cared about Trump in 2008. He was the kind of billionaire they exist to protect. Now that Trump is president, he has powerful enemies and THEY have turned the SDNY against Trump.

A clear example of how it works is the newly revealed appeal by New York prosecutors to have Epstein's classification as a level 3 sexual predator reduced just after he returned to NY from his "prison" time in Florida.

The motion to the court was filed by NY special prosecutor for sex crimes, Jennifer Gaffney and her boss Cyrus Vance. They tried to convince the judge that Epstein was not a threat to anyone and his classification should be reduced and eventually erased. In effect, they where helping Epstein to regain his prior status and get back into the business of child sexual slavery.

The judge was outrages and refused. She wrote: “I have to tell you, I’m a little overwhelmed because I have never seen a prosecutor’s office do anything like this."

Why would prosecutors do this. It is easy to guess. Some very powerful person talked to their bosses in Washington and the word came to them to "back off" on Epstein -- just as it did to Acosta. The big question is WHO intervened on Epstein's behalf? Of course, we will never know that. The investigation will cover that up first and foremost.

Will there be calls for Gaffney and Vance to resign? Of course not. They are not connected to Trump as Acosta was. All of this is political.
+3 # PABLO DIABLO 2019-07-11 11:21
"No regrets"???? Some shame, but no regrets. Maybe Epstein has pictures of Acosta, Trump, Clinton,Cosby, Weinstein, Woody Allen etc.,etc.
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-12 16:02
PD -- If Epstein has any of these photos or videos, the SDNY has them now. My bet is that it will add them all the FBI's master file of blackmail information on everyone. But if there are photos or videos of Trump, they will be used pretty quickly. Russiagate turned out to be hot air, but a video of Trump raping a 15 year old would be the end of him. He'd be impeached and imprisoned. Even republicans would vote to impeach Trump for that. The SDNY hates Trump, so if it has anything, it will use it. Comey's daughter is on the prosecution team, so this would be Comey's payback.

But I sort of doubt Epstein or SDNY has any photos of Trump. Sure he is a philanderer, but Epstein is not his style. But I really don't know.
+3 # elizabethblock 2019-07-11 12:32
Acosta said the victims would have a chance to get justice. How? He didn't say. Civil suits? Right. Who would pay for their lawyers These girls were marginal - that's why Jeffrey Epstein chose them.
And Epstein, while "in jail," was let out during the day to work in his office. Some jail sentence! Doing what? More sex trafficking? Do we know how he made his money?
0 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-11 18:27
e.b. -- it is not hard to see where this will all go. It is another Bernie Madoff case. There were very many victims but Madoff and Epstein were protected by some very powerful people and the intelligence agencies of the US and Israel. Madoff has been locked in prison for life. He never talked. His victims got nothing. Epstein will be locked in prison for life, he will never talk, no victims will be compensated.

This is just how crime works at this high level. Some high profile individual like Madoff or Epstein get disappeared but the real perps are never exposed.

No one knows how Madoff or Epstein made money and no one knows where it went. Except, we know Madoff's profits went to Mossad.
+1 # DongiC 2019-07-11 17:10
Morality among the president and his team is an unknown word. Their goal is money and power and pleasure. They have little respect for truth and nothing but contempt for the insignificant people in our society. Look at Trump. He doesn't even care if they have decent medical care and it's all right with him if immigrant children dwell in terrible conditions. And, Trump further remarked, in those infamous tapes, that he could. get away with anything. So could Jeff Epstein. Until he got caught. Twice. Let's see how he fares this time now that the publicity lamp has been turned on. Any more sweetheart deals?

God, the whole bunch is beneath contempt. When will justice prevail?
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-12 05:43
This is the third or fourth story RSN has on Acosta. He is not the story. The elite media are trying to distract us from the real story of Epstein and his criminal syndicate by putting out Acosta. At worst, he is a very minor player, a victim of the powerful people Epstein counted as part of this ring. Acosta just did what he was told to do.

Why no stories on the really glaring connections to Epstein? His partner in the child sex ring was Ghislaine Maxwell, the daughter of Epstein's mentor, Robert Maxwell. Maxwell was a British publishing billionaire who also was an operative for Mossad and MI6. He was involved in all manner of financial crimes and fraud. He also was a child sex procurer. In 1991, he was mysteriously found floating face down near his palatial resort in the Canary Islands. Then, Ghislaine immediately fled to New York and teamed up with Epstein. The same Maxwell organized crime syndicate continued but now centered in NY.

No one seems to know where Epstein's money came from. But he worked with the Bronfmans and the Wexners, both part of a Jewish mafia engaged in child sex and financial crimes. One of Epstein's victims claims she was raped in Les Wexner's home.

These powerful crime families run much of Wall Street and the NY financial markets. They are mostly Jewish and very tightly connected to each other and to the Israeli Mossad.

This is where the trails lead. But the elite media will do all it can to be sure we don't look there.
-2 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-07-12 07:03
Here's an interesting analysis of Epstein's role. It was published in Feb. 2018 but accounts for many of the details of today much better than the current stories in the media. Here is the basic thesis:

"What will be presented here is the anatomy of a sexual blackmail operation orchestrated by Israel’s Mossad as a means of gaining and maintaining control over America’s foreign policy and top leaders so that the US Empire ultimately fights Israel’s wars for the Greater Israel Project. Through AIPAC bribery and Mossad blackmail, virtually every US politician in Congress including the president is and has been a puppet of the Zionist Jewish State.[ii]"

It is known that Epstein wired all the rooms in his houses for video. The SDNY has the videos. Does MOSSAD also have the videos? Probably. This means there are probably videos of both Trump and Clinton. Where is YouTube now that we need it?

It is also probably true that this case was "given" to SDNY so that this part of the story can be buried and destroyed. SDNY exists to protect the real crimes of Wall Street financiers.
0 # chapdrum 2019-07-12 14:36
Don 'n' Al made sure to have three very large flags behind the latter, for his statement.
Acosta goes on to the long list of those who have earned some quality time on Guantanamo. There's a short list, too.

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