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Ex-prosecutor: It made me ‘physically ill’ to hear Acosta claim all prosecutors used to ignore child sex crime victims

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Faced with criticism on Wednesday for giving a sweetheart deal to accused child rapist Jeffrey Epstein in 2008, former federal prosecutor and current Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta suggested that he might have handled the case differently today, because of changing cultural attitudes on child sex trafficking.

Speaking to MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki on “Hardball” Thursday, former Assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah expressed her outrage at this claim.

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“We showed some reactions yesterday from former prosecutors. You’re one of them,” said Kornacki. “You were not impressed by his performance yesterday. Let me ask you about one argument he seemed to be making, or at least seemed to be suggesting at, was that the cultural shift we’ve seen when it comes to allegations of this nature over the last few years — he seemed to be suggesting, maybe if I understood him, that the case would be handled differently now than he handled it because of that. What did you make of that line of argument he seemed to be venturing down at points there?”

“That was the most offensive of all of his arguments,” said Rocah. “I mean, it really truly made me physically ill to hear him saying that. As someone who was a prosecutor back at the time that he was negotiating this plea, I can tell you that no prosecutors, no FBI agents, no one that I worked with or knew of would ever have turned away a case regarding child sex exploitation because of, quote, ‘cultural norms.'”

“Yes, our society has evolved on its view of rape and adult victims, but not when it comes to minors,” said Rocah forcefully. “No one ever thought it was okay to victim-shame a minor in a sex trafficking case, first of all. And lastly, you know, that isn’t a reason for a prosecutor not to do a case anyway. You base your case on the strength of your evidence, on all sorts of factors, but not whether or not you think people are going to look down upon your victim. So I thought every one of his excuses, and that’s what they sounded like, fell flat. I thought that one was also offensive.”

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2020 Election

Trump creates a ‘minefield’ of legal problems for his own staff with plan for White House acceptance speech: report

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday said that he might deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House. But legal experts who spoke with Bloomberg warned that might not be a good idea.

The publication described the proposal as "a minefield of problems for the staff charged with putting such an event together."

The Hatch Act forbids the use of government property and employees for political activities. Although the president and vice president are exempted from the federal law, their staff at the White House could face repercussions.

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Controversial ‘Hookers for Jesus’ group to get more federal money after Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump announce new sex trafficking effort

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The Las Vegas-based group Hookers for Jesus has won a grant from the Justice Department less than a year after whistleblowers raised red flags about federal funds being awarded to the organization, Reuters reports.

The complaint from union officials says the group, which is run by a born-again Christian survivor of sex trafficking and operates a safe house for adult trafficking victims, got its grant due to political favoritism.

A previous Reuters report revealed that the group required residents of the safe house to go to church, complete Christian homework, and banned them from reading “secular magazines with articles, pictures, etc. that portray worldly views/advice on living, sex, clothing, makeup tips.” As Reuters points out, recipients of federal funds are not allowed to use the funds to promote religion.

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COVID-19

‘Taking taxpayers for a ride’: Moderna to charge $32-$37/dose for COVID-19 vaccine developed entirely with public funds

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"It ought to be the people's vaccine, not a new taxpayer burden."

Consumer advocates warned Wednesday that pharmaceutical giant Moderna is "taking taxpayers for a ride" after the company announced plans to charge between $32 and $37 per dose for a potential Covid-19 vaccine developed entirely with funds from the U.S. federal government.

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