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ℓʋℓʋ ℓɛ Who? @LuluLemew
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Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.
amp.miamiherald.com/news/local/art… ht @soychicka
On a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.
It was an unusual meeting for the then-38-year-old prosecutor, a rising Republican star who had served in several White House posts before being named U.S. attorney in Miami by President George W. Bush.
Instead of meeting at the prosecutor’s Miami HQ the two men — both w roots in the prestigious DC law firm of Kirkland & Ellis — convened at the Marriott in West Palm Beach, 70mi away. For Lefkowitz, a US special envoy to NK &corporate lawyer, the meeting was critical.
His client, Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day.
Epstein was also suspected of trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties at his other homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Caribbean, FBI and court records show
Facing a 53-page federal indictment, Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life.

But on that day, a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.
Acosta agreed, against fed law, that it would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.
These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.
This is how Epstein, bolstered by unlimited funds & represented by a powerhouse legal team, was able to manipulate the criminal justice system, and how his accusers, still traumatized by their pasts, believe they were betrayed by the very prosecutors who pledged to protect them.
“I don’t think anyone has been told the truth about what Jeffrey Epstein did,’’ said one of Epstein’s victims, Michelle Licata, now 30.

“He ruined my life and a lot of girls’ lives. People need to know what he did and why he wasn’t prosecuted so it never happens again.”
Now Trump’s secretary of labor, Acosta, 49, oversees a massive federal agency that provides oversight of the country’s labor laws, including human trafficking. He also has been on a list of possible replacements for Sessions.
Court docs reveal details of negotiations & role Acosta played in arranging Epstein’s deal, which scuttled the federal probe into a possible internat’l sex trafficking op. Acosta allowed Epstein’s lawyers unusual freedoms in dictating the terms of the non-prosecution agreement.
As a result, neither the victims — nor even the judge — would know how many girls Epstein allegedly sexually abused between 2001 and 2005, when his underage sex activities were first uncovered by police.
“This was not a ‘he said, she said’ situation. This was 50-something ‘shes’ and one ‘he’ — and the ‘shes’ all basically told the same story,’’ said retired Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter, who supervised the police probe.
Police referred the case to the FBI a year later, when they began to suspect that their investigation was being undermined by the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office.
The women — now in their late 20s and early 30s — are still fighting for an elusive justice that even the passage of time has not made right.
“Jeffrey preyed on girls who were in a bad way, girls who were basically homeless. He went after girls who he thought no one would listen to and he was right,’’ said Courtney Wild, who was 14 when she met Epstein.
Like other victims of sexual abuse, they believe they’ve been silenced by a criminal justice system that stubbornly fails to hold Epstein and other wealthy and powerful men accountable.
Over the past year, the Miami Herald examined a decade’s worth of court documents, lawsuits, witness depositions and newly released FBI documents. Key people involved in the investigation — most of whom have never spoken before — were also interviewed.
They also obtained new records, including the full unredacted copy of the Palm Beach police investigation and witness statements that had been kept under seal.
As part of the plea deal, Epstein provided what the government called “valuable consideration” for unspecified information he supplied to federal investigators.
While the documents obtained by the Herald don’t detail what the information was, Epstein’s sex crime case happened just as the country’s subprime mortgage market collapsed, ushering in the 2008 global financial crisis.
The Herald also identified about 80 women who say they were molested or sexually abused by Epstein from 2001 to 2006. About 60 were located — now scattered around the country and abroad. Eight agreed to be interviewed, on or off the record. Four were willing to speak on video.
The women are now mothers, wives, nurses, bartenders, Realtors, hairdressers and teachers. One is a Hollywood actress. Several have grappled with trauma, depression and addiction. Some have served time in prison.
A few did not survive. One young woman was found dead last year in a rundown motel in West Palm Beach. She overdosed on heroin and left behind a young son.
As part of Epstein’s agreement, he was required to register as a sex offender, pay restitution to the 36+ victims id’d by the FBI. Many confidential financial settlements came only after Epstein’s attys, in a scorched-earth effort portrayed the girls as gold diggers.
Now, over 10y later, 2 unrelated civil lawsuits — one set for trial on Dec. 4 — could reveal more about Epstein’s crimes. The Dec. 4 case, in Palm Beach County state court, involves Epstein & Edwards, whom Epstein accused of legal misdeeds in representing several victims.
The case is noteworthy because it will mark the first time that Epstein’s victims will have their day in court, and several of them are scheduled to testify.
A second lawsuit, known as the federal Crime Victims’ Rights suit, is still pending in South Florida after a decade of legal jousting. It seeks to invalidate the non-prosecution agreement in hopes of sending Epstein to federal prison.
Wild, who has never spoken publicly until now, is Jane Doe No. 1 in “Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2 vs. the United States of America,” a federal lawsuit that alleges Epstein’s federal non-prosecution agreement was illegal.
Federal prosecutors, including Acosta, not only broke the law, the women contend in court documents, but they conspired with Epstein and his lawyers to circumvent public scrutiny and deceive his victims in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
“As soon as that deal was signed, they silenced my voice and the voices of all of Jeffrey Epstein’s other victims,’’ said Wild, now 31. “This case is about justice, not just for us, but for other victims who aren’t Olympic stars or Hollywood stars.’’
In court papers, federal prosecutors have argued that they did not violate the Crime Victims’ Rights Act because no federal charges were ever filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, an argument that was later dismissed by the judge.
Despite substantial physical evidence and multiple witnesses backing up the girls’ stories, the secret deal allowed Epstein to enter guilty pleas to two felony prostitution charges.
Epstein admitted to committing only one offense against one underage girl, who was labeled a prostitute, even though she was 14, which is well under the age of consent — 18 in Florida.
“There is no such thing as a child prostitute. Under federal law, it’s called child sex trafficking — whether Epstein pimped them out to others or not. It’s still a commercial sex act — and he could have been jailed for the rest of his life under federal law,” she said.
It would be easy to dismiss the Epstein case as another example of how there are two systems of justice in America, one for the rich and one for the poor. But a thorough analysis of the case tells a far more troubling story.
A close look at the trove of letters & emails in court records provides a window into the plea negotiations, revealing an unusual level of collaboration between fed prosecutors & Epstein’s legal team that even govt lawyers, in recent court documents, admitted was unorthodox.
Acosta, in 2011, said he was unduly pressured by Epstein’s heavy-hitting lawyers —
• Lefkowitz
• Alan Dershowitz
• Jack Goldberger
• Roy Black
• former U.S. Attorney Guy Lewis
• Gerald Lefcourt
• Kenneth Starr
That included keeping the deal from Epstein’s victims

“Thank you for the commitment you made to me during our Oct12 meeting,’’ Lefkowitz wrote to Acosta after their meeting in West Palm Beach.

He was hopeful that Acosta would abide by a promise to keep the deal confidential.
“You ... assured me that your office would not ... contact any of the identified individuals, potential witnesses or potential civil claimants and the respective counsel in this matter,’’ Lefkowitz wrote.
In email after email, Acosta &lead fed prosecutor, A. Marie Villafaña, acquiesced to Epstein’s attys’ demands, often focused on ways to limit the scandal by shutting out victims &media, including suggesting charges be filed in Miami, instead of Palm Beach, where victims lived.
“On an ‘avoid the press’ note ... I can file the charge in district court in Miami which will hopefully cut the press coverage significantly. Do you want to check that out?’’ Villafaña wrote to Lefkowitz in a September 2007 email.
Federal prosecutors identified 36 underage victims, but none appeared at his sentencing on June 30, 2008, in state court in Palm Beach County. Most heard about it on the news — they didn’t understand what had happened to the federal probe that they’d been assured was ongoing.
Edwards filed an emergency motion in federal court to block the non-prosecution agreement, but by the time the agreement was unsealed — over a year later — Epstein had already served his sentence and been released from jail.
“The conspiracy between the government and Epstein was really ‘let’s figure out a way to make the whole thing go away as quietly as possible,’ ’’ said Edwards, who represents Wild and Jane Doe No. 2, who declined to comment for this story.
“In never consulting with the victims, and keeping it secret, it showed that someone with money can buy his way out of anything.’’
It was far from the last time Epstein would receive VIP handling. Unlike other convicted sex offenders, Epstein didn’t face the kind of rough justice that child sex offenders do in Florida state prisons.
The sheriff, Ric Bradshaw, would not answer questions, submitted by the Miami Herald, about Epstein’s work release.
Neither Epstein nor his lead attorney, Jack Goldberger, responded to multiple requests for comment for this story. During depositions taken as part of two dozen lawsuits, Epstein invoked his Fifth Amendment right, in one instance doing so more than 200 times.
In the past, Epstein’s lawyers have said that the girls lied about their ages, that their stories were exaggerated or untrue and that they were unreliable witnesses prone to drug use.
In 2011, Epstein petitioned to have his sex offender status reduced in New York, where he has a home and is required to register every 90 days. In New York, he is classified as a level 3 offender — the highest safety risk because of his likelihood to re-offend.
A prosecutor under New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance argued on Epstein’s behalf, telling New York Supreme Court Judge Ruth Pickholtz that the Florida case never led to an indictment and that his underage victims failed to cooperate in the case.
Pickholtz, however, denied the petition, expressing astonishment that a New York prosecutor would make such a request on behalf of a serial sex offender accused of molesting so many girls.
The women who went to Jeffrey Epstein’s mansion as girls tend to divide their lives into two parts: life before Jeffrey and life after Jeffrey.
Before she met Epstein, Courtney Wild was captain of the cheerleading squad, first trumpet in the band and an A-student at Lake Worth Middle School.

After she met Epstein, she was a stripper, a drug addict and an inmate at Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida’s Panhandle.
Wild still had braces on her teeth when she was introduced to him in 2002 at the age of 14.
She was fair, petite and slender, blonde and blue-eyed. Wild, who later helped recruit other girls, said Epstein preferred girls who were white, appeared prepubescent and those who were easy to manipulate into going further each time.
“By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years,” said Wild, who was released from prison in October after serving three years on drug charges.
The lead Palm Beach police detective on the case, Joseph Recarey, said Epstein’s operation worked like a sexual pyramid scheme.
“The common interview with a girl went like this:

‘I was brought there by so and so. I didn’t feel comfortable with what happened, but I got paid well, so I was told if I didn’t feel comfortable, I could bring someone else and still get paid,’ ’’ Recarey said.
During the massage sessions, Recarey said Epstein would molest the girls, paying them premiums for engaging in oral sex and intercourse, and offering them a further bounty to find him more girls.
Recarey said the evidence collected was overwhelming, incl. phone call records, copies of written phone messages from the girls found in Epstein’s trash, Epstein’s flight logs, which showed his private plane in Palm Beach on the days the girls were scheduled to give him massages.
Epstein counseled the girls about their schooling, and told them he would help them get into college, modeling school, fashion design or acting. At least two of Epstein’s victims told police that they were in love with him, according to the police report.
Reiter, also speaking for the first time, said detectives were astonished by the sheer volume of young girls coming and going from his house, the frequency — sometimes several in the same day — and the young ages of the girls.
“We had victims who didn’t know each other, never met each other and they all basically independently told the same story,’’ said Reiter, the retired Palm Beach police chief.
The police report shows how uncannily consistent the girls’ stories were — right down to their detailed descriptions of Epstein’s genitalia.
“It started out to give a man a back rub, but in many cases it turned into something far worse than that, elevated to a serious crime, in some cases sexual batteries,’’ he said.
Once sexually gratified, Epstein would take a shower in his massive bathroom, which the girls described as having a large shower and a hot pink and mint green sofa.
One girl told police that she was approached by an Epstein recruiter when she was 16, and was working at the Wellington mall. Over the course of more than a year, she went to Epstein’s house hundreds of times, she said.
She said she was firm about not wanting to have intercourse w Epstein, but 1 day Epstein, unable to control himself, held her down on a massage table &penetrated her (police report). She was 16 or 17 & said that Epstein apologized and paid her $1,000, the police report said.
Most of the girls came from disadvantaged families, single-parent homes or foster care. Some had experienced troubles that belied their ages: They had parents and friends who committed suicide; mothers abused by husbands and boyfriends; fathers who molested and beat them.
One girl had watched her stepfather strangle her 8-year-old stepbrother, according to court records obtained by the Herald.
Many of the girls were one step away from homelessness.

“We were stupid, poor children,’’ said one woman, who did not want to be named because she never told anyone about Epstein. At the time, she recalled that she was 14 and a high school freshman.
The woman, who went to Epstein’s home multiple times, said Epstein didn’t like her because her breasts were too big. The last time she went, she said, one girl came out crying and they were instructed to leave the house and had to pay for their own cab home.
Some girls told police they were coached by their peer recruiters to lie to Epstein & say they were 18. Epstein’s legal team claimed even if the girls were under 18, he couldn’t have known.

Under FL law, ignorance of a sex partner’s age is not a defense for having sex w a minor.
Wild, who worked for Epstein until she was 21, said he was well aware of their tender ages — because he demanded they be young.
Epstein’s scheme first began to unravel in March 2005, when the parents of a 14yo girl told Palm Beach police she’d been molested by Epstein at his mansion. The girl reluctantly confessed she’d been brought there by 2 other girls &those girls pointed to 2 more girls...
By the time detectives tracked down one victim, there were two and three more to find. Soon there were dozens.

“We didn’t know where the victims would ever end,” Reiter said.
Eventually, the girls told them about still other girls and young women they had seen at Epstein’s house, many of whom didn’t speak English, Recarey said.

That led Recarey to suspect that Epstein’s exploits weren’t just confined to Palm Beach.
Police obtained the flight logs for his private plane, and found female names and initials among the list of people who flew on the aircraft — including the names of some famous and powerful people who had also been passengers, Recarey said.
A newly released FBI report, posted on the bureau’s website as a result of the Herald’s FOIA request, shows at the time the non-prosecution deal was executed, the FBI was interviewing witnesses &victims “from across the United States.” from FL to NY to NM, records show.
🚨Indeed, one lawsuit, still pending in New York, alleges that #Epstein used an international modeling agency to recruit girls as young as 13 from Europe, Ecuador and Brazil.
🚨The girls lived in a New York building owned by #Epstein, who paid for their visas, according to the sworn statement of Maritza Vasquez, the one-time bookkeeper for Mc2, the modeling agency.
Mike Fisten, a former Miami-Dade police sergeant/homicide investigator/member of FBI Organized Crime Task Force, said the FBI had enough evidence to put Epstein away for a long time but was overruled by Acosta (who now works for Trump)
“The day that a sitting U.S. attorney is afraid of a lawyer or afraid of a defendant is a very sad day in this country,’’ said Fisten, now a private investigator for Edwards.
Now, a complex web of litigation could reveal more about Epstein’s crimes.

A lawsuit, set for trial Dec. 4 in Palm Beach County, involves the notorious convicted Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein, in whose law firm Edwards once worked.
2009
Epstein sued Edwards, alleging that Edwards was involved w Rothstein and was using the girls’ civil lawsuits to perpetuate Rothstein’s massive Ponzi operation.

Rothstein said Edwards didn’t know about the scheme.

Epstein dropped the lawsuit.
Edwards countersued for malicious prosecution, arguing that Epstein sued him to retaliate for his aggressive representation of Epstein’s victims.

🚨Several women who went to Epstein’s home as underage girls are scheduled to testify against him for the first time.
Florida state Sen. Lauren Book, a child sex abuse survivor who has lobbied for tough sex offender laws, said Epstein’s case should serve as a tipping point for criminal cases involving sex crimes against children.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Villafaña, in court papers, said that prosecutors used their “best efforts’’ to comply with the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, but exercised their “prosecutorial discretion’’ when they chose not to notify the victims. 🖕🏼
Acosta never fully explained why he kept the agreement sealed.

Or why the FBI investigation was closed even as, recently released docs show, the case was yielding more victims and evidence of a possible #sextrafficking conspiracy beyond Palm Beach.
Upon his nomination by Trump as labor secretary in 2017, Acosta was questioned about the Epstein case during a Senate confirmation hearing.

Acosta said of his decision to not prosecute Epstein federally:
Feinstein, in opposing Acosta for labor secretary, noted that “his handling of a case involving sex trafficking of underage girls when he was a U.S. attorney suggests he won’t put the interests of workers and everyday people ahead of the powerful and well-connected.’’
Marci Hamilton, a University of Pennsylvania law professor who is one of the nation’s leading advocates for reforming laws involving sex crimes against children, said what Acosta and other prosecutors did is similar to what the Catholic Church did to protect pedophile priests.
“The real crime with the Catholic priests was the way they covered it up and shielded the priests,’’ Hamilton said.
“The orchestration of power by men only is protected as long as everybody agrees to keep it secret. This is a story the world needs to hear.’’

#Epstein
@threadreaderapp unroll please
Via @KlasfeldReports
As you read this bombshell Miami Herald investigation - and read every word - keep in mind that Trump's labor secretary Alexander Acosta, accused here of covering up Trump's former pal Epstein's crimes, runs an agency that monitors human trafficking.
Dershowitz said Acosta “was very anxious to prosecute” Epstein, but “we persuaded them that they didn’t have enough evidence of interstate transportation” of the underage girls to warrant federal charges. washingtonpost.com/politics/labor…

Now why would he be anxious?
Epstein prosecution agreement "sweetheart deal" signed by Acosta
scribd.com/document/34263…
Kenneth Starr was one of Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers.

Also: Starr and his wife supported Christopher Kloman, a 74-year-old retired teacher at the Potomac School who pleaded guilty to molesting five female students over a period from 1966 to 1985...

and Baylor University...
Kavanaugh earned a one-year fellowship with the Solicitor General, Ken Starr and until 1997 for Ken Starr again as an Associate Counsel in the Office of the Independent Counsel along with ALEX AZAR.

So many coincidences.
Facts:
Ken Starr
1. Represented serial rapist, sex trafficker, Epstein
2. Wrote letter of support for Christopher Kloman, 74yo retired teacher who pleaded guilty & got 43yrs for sexually assaulting several female students under 14yrs
gawker.com/he-took-the-ti…
Ken Starr:
3. Court filing: Starr and other Baylor leaders helped student accused of sexual misconduct
texastribune.org/2017/12/20/cou…
Dershowitz:
1. Another one of Epstein's lawyers
2. Named in lawsuit by Virginia Giuffre (nee Roberts), accused of having sex with her, when she was a minor. Incidentally, Virginia was recruited from Trump's Maralago.

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