Jeffrey Epstein’s attorney Reid Weingarten, speaking in federal court, described the Manhattan US attorney’s indictment as a “do-over” of the Florida investigation.
“To us, this indictment is essentially a do-over…This is the very stuff that was investigated by the feds in Florida,” Weingarten said during his client’s presentment.
About the Florida investigation: The well-connected hedge fund manager previously evaded similar charges when he secured a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors in Miami. Instead of facing federal charges, Epstein pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges in 2008 and served just 13 months in prison. He also registered as a sex offender and paid restitution to the victims identified by the FBI.
But that arrangement has come under intense scrutiny as the result of a Miami Herald investigation that examined how it was handled by then-US Attorney Alexander Acosta, who now serves as labor secretary in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.
The Herald investigation said that Acosta gave Epstein the “deal of a lifetime” despite a federal investigation identifying 36 underage victims. The agreement, the Herald said, “essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe” and further granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” in the case.
In February, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the Department of Justice broke the law by failing to confer with Epstein’s victims about the agreement.
Referencing the 2007 non-prosecution agreement Epstein entered with the Southern District of Florida earlier Monday, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said, “that agreement only binds, by its terms, only binds the Southern District of Florida. The Southern District of New York is not bound by that agreement and is not a signatory to that agreement.”