Oversight Committee Plans Hearing with Acosta on Plea Deal with Epstein
Washington, D.C. (July 10, 2019)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Rep. Jamie Raskin, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, sent a letter inviting Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to testify at a public hearing on July 23, 2019. They wrote:
“The hearing will examine your actions as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida in authorizing a non-prosecution agreement for Jeffrey Epstein, as well as the finding by a federal court that you violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by keeping this non-prosecution agreement secret from the victims of Mr. Epstein’s crimes. Your testimony is even more critical now that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York unsealed a new indictment earlier this week outlining a host of additional charges against Mr. Epstein, including luring dozens of teenage girls to his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, and paying them to engage in sexual activity with him.”
On February 21, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that Acosta and other federal prosecutors violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by failing to appropriately notify Epstein’s victims of the non-prosecution agreement (NPA). The court found that they worked to “conceal the existence of the NPA and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility.”
On July 8, 2019, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York unsealed a new indictment outlining a host of additional charges against Mr. Epstein. According to the indictment, from 2002 to 2005, Mr. Epstein lured dozens of teenage girls to his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, and paid them to engage in sexual activity with him.
In addition to announcing the planned hearing, Cummings and Raskin joined Reps. Jackie Speier, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and Lois Frankel in requesting a briefing from the Office of Professional Responsibility at the Department of Justice, which has been investigating Acosta’s conduct as United States Attorney. They wrote:
“In light of the recently unsealed criminal indictment against Jeffrey Epstein for alleged acts of child abuse and sex trafficking, we request that you provide the Committee with an update on the status of your investigation of alleged misconduct by Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta during his tenure as United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. There are significant concerns with Secretary Acosta’s actions in approving an extremely favorable deal for an alleged sexual predator while concealing the deal from the victims of Mr. Epstein’s crimes, which a judge found violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act.”