Initially, I did not intend to post the opinion issued today about the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse matter. That case involves an alleged sweetheart deal given to billionaire Jeffrey Epstein by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. Epstein was (and is) alleged to have engaged in a massive, ongoing campaign of sexual abuse of young girls. The U.S. Attorney at the time Epstein was charged was Alex Acosta, now Trump’s Secretary of Labor. Currently at issue is whether the U.S. Attorney’s Office intentionally failed to notify the victims of the plea bargain with Epstein. Today, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida (per Marra, J.) issued an opinion holding that at least two of the victims had their rights to conferral violated. The opinion shows that Acosta and his office actively sought to hide the plea bargain.
In reading the opinion, I came across this passage:
On about November 30, 2007, U.S. Attorney Acosta sent a letter to one of Epstein’s defense attorneys, Kenneth Starr, stating: “I am directing our prosecutors not to issue victim notification letters until this Friday at 5 p.m., to provide you with time to review these options with your client.” The letter also explained that the line prosecutor had informed U.S. Attorney Acosta “that the victims were not told of the availability of Section 2255 relief during the investigation phase of this matter” despite the fact that the “[r]ule of law . . . now requires this District to consider the victims’ rights under this statute in negotiating this Agreement.” On December 5, 2007, Starr sent a letter to U.S. Attorney Acosta (with copy to AUSA Sloman) asking about issuance of victim notification letters and stating: “While we believe that it is wholly inappropriate for your Office to send this letter under any circumstances, it is certainly inappropriate to issue this letter without affording us the right to review it.”
Slip op. at 14, record references deleted.
This is what is known as situational ethics.