Prosecutor in Trump pal Epstein’s trial had previously been rebuked in sex assault case — and then-US Atty Acosta knew about it
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has been caught in a massive scandal giving President Donald Trump’s friend Jeffrey Epstein a sweet deal for his years of underage sexual abuse. In a new finding, however, it was uncovered that nine months ahead of the plea deal Acosta cut with Epstein, the lead prosecutor on the case concealed information about another sex crime with a 14-year-old girl.
The Miami Herald broke the story Thursday that prosecutor A. Marie Villafaña was reprimanded by a judge in Jan. 2007 for “intentional and/or serious lapse in judgment” for leaving out information about the sex crime with the underage girl. However, Acosta already knew about it and attempted to defend the act. Another prosecutor in the office was given the assignment to author the documents attempting to persuade the judge to “soften the stinging language in his order,” The Herald reported. It didn’t work.
“The court is at a total loss as to why the Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, as well as the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the above-styled cause, found it appropriate to intentionally withhold … information from the court,” wrote Senior U.S. District Court Judge William J. Zloch.
Last month a federal judge said that the Crime Victims’ Rights Act was violated because the plea deal for Epstein was “intentionally kept from his victims.” Acosta had the plea deal sealed by the courts.
“While the two cases are unrelated, it shows that both Acosta and Villafaña had been warned about the importance of victim disclosure in sex crimes cases before the Epstein agreement. They nevertheless forged ahead with a pact with Epstein that violated the law,” The Herald wrote.
“When the Government gives information to victims, it cannot be misleading. While the Government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and implications of the [agreement] with Epstein’s attorneys, scant information was shared with victims,” said U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth A. Marra.
Acosta is one of many Trump cabinet appointees slapped with corruption scandals. Most of the others involve financial problems, but Acosta is the first to be accused of letting a sex offender walk away with a slap on the wrist.
In 2017, one woman revealed she was first approached about Epstein’s underage sex ring while she served as the “towel girl” at Mar-a-Lago. She claimed that she was lured by the billionaire who was once a regular face at Trump’s resort.