On Tuesday, a 2-1 majority rejected an appeal from one of the victims of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein which would have thrown out a non-prosecution agreement that provided immunity to Epstein, his aides, and unnamed “co-conspirators.”
Epstein’s escapades became front page news in the summer of 2019 when he was arrested and faced charges for abusing dozens of young girls at his homes in Florida, New Mexico, New York, and Paris. Epstein died of an alleged suicide on August 2019 while in custody on new sex-crime charges filed in New York.
The latest attempt to overturn Epstein’s arrangement with Florida prosecutors was filed by Courtney Wild, who says she was sexually abused by Epstein at his Palm Beach mansion at the age of 14. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Wild’s appeal, stating that despite the government’s attempts at shielding Epstein from harm, the Crime Victims’ Right Act (CVRA) does not allow for relief for victims who are mistreated by prosecutors prior to a formal charge being filed.
Courthouse News reports:
“Claiming rampant violations of the Crime Victims Rights Act, women abused by Epstein in their youth have been fighting in court since 2008 to overturn his and his aides’ federal immunity, to obtain grand jury records and hold Florida public hearings where they can air their grievances against the Justice Department.
‘Despite our sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein’s hands, only to be left in the dark—and, so it seems, affirmatively misled—by government lawyers, we find ourselves constrained to deny her petition,’ U.S. Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom, an appointee of President Donald Trump, wrote for the majority.”
After the decision, Courtney Wild stated, “The government intentionally misled the victims but found a way to get away with it by working with a child molester to get around the law. The judges ruled in their favor. How?”
The two judges who ruled against Wild claimed that overturning the original non-prosecution agreement could potentially infringe on prosecutors and law enforcement officials decision making process if they feel their decisions may be later overturned. Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Frank Hull, the one dissenting vote, said the other judges decisions ignores the terms of the CVRA. “The majority’s contorted statutory interpretation materially revises the statute’s plain text and guts victims’ rights under the CVRA. Nothing, and I mean nothing, in the CVRA’s plain text requires the majority’s result,” she wrote.
Wild’s attorney Paul Cassell told Courthouse News that it’s “clear that the [Act] as written by Congress can apply even before an indictment is filed.” Cassell said that Wild plans to file for an en banc rehearing before the full 11th Circuit. If that rehearing is rejected, the claim could eventually make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Despite rejecting Wild’s appeal, the judges acknowledged that, “mysteries still exist about how Epstein and his co-conspirators escaped federal prosecution for multiple sex-trafficking crimes against over 30 minor girls in Florida.”
A History of Cover Ups
This is not the first time the controversial plea deal has been discussed in court. In 2008, following Epstein’s plea agreement, attorney Bradley Edwards filed suit against the U.S. government claiming the feds failed to involve the victims in the settlement, an obligation required by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Edwards was one of the lawyers representing the women who brought the original suit against Epstein.
In 2015, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra sided with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Epstein in asserting that 15,000 pages of documents must remain private. The women behind the suit state they believe Epstein’s connections helped him get his “sweetheart” prison deal.
The fact that U.S. Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom was appointed by Donald Trump should not be ignored. Trump was an associate of Epstein throughout the 1990’s and the 2000’s. And after becoming President, Donald Trump appointed Alexander Acosta to U.S. Labor Secretary. Acosta is the same attorney who helped seal Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement.
In the spring of 2017, Acosta, who was at that time serving as the Miami U.S. Attorney, was nominated by Donald Trump and approved by the U.S. Congress. When Acosta was questioned during his nomination hearing regarding his role in Epstein’s deal, he downplayed the collusion and claimed that there might not be enough evidence to convict Epstein.
Acosta also wrote that he was subject to “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars” who investigated him and his family looking for any way to disqualify him. Whether he was a willing participant or strong armed into the agreement, Acosta helped Epstein reach a plea deal that allowed him to get away with the victimization of dozens of young girls.
In 2015 Politico reported that court documents released through litigation appeared to show prosecutors cooperating with Epstein’s lawyers to keep the deal secret. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña used her personal Gmail account to suggest to one of Epstein’s lawyers that they file legal papers in a different jurisdiction as a way to “hopefully cut the press coverage significantly.” Villafaña told Epstein’s attorney that she would “include our standard language regarding resolving all criminal liability and I will mention ‘co-conspirators,’ but I would prefer not to highlight for the judge all of the other crimes and all of the other persons that we could charge.”
Edwards and Paul Cassell filed a court document in response to the revelations, stating that “the victims’ allegations of a conspiracy between the Government and Epstein’s attorneys to conceal the existence of a broad non-prosecution agreement are not mere speculation, but appear to be well supported.” The suspicion of improper deal-making is one of the key reasons these women and Bradley Edwards have fought for this lawsuit for the last 12 years.
The closing of yet another case against Epstein and his co-conspirators will likely continue to fuel theories that Epstein was working for an as yet unnamed intelligence agency.
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