Here are the two most likely reasons why the Public Corruption Unit investigated Trump pal Jeffrey Epstein
MSNBC legal analyst Mimi Rocah is Pace Law's Distinguished Fellow in Criminal Justice (screengrab)

The two most likely reasons that Jeffrey Epstein is being prosecuted by the Public Corruption Unit were explained by a former federal prosecutor on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Monday.

Host Joy Reid interviewed former Southern District of New York prosecutor Mimi Rocah, who supervised sex trafficking prosecutions for the office.

"It did seem interesting, that it’s being handled out of the office's public corruption unit," Reid noted. "What should we take from that?"

"It is unusual," Rocah replied. "The public corruption unit handles cases that involve -- just like it sounds -- public officials. Whether it be elected officials -- or it can be police officers, it can be anyone who holds some kind of position of public trust, basically."

Rocah, a distinguished fellow in criminal justice at Pace Law, explained the two causes for the Public Corruption Unit handling the case.

"One is that we see somebody who is either a public official or an elected official who was involved in the sex trafficking scheme with Epstein, with which he is now charged," she explained. "That is possible."

"The other possibility is we know ... that there was real mishandling -- at a minimum -- of the plea in Florida with Epstein. And that involves prosecutors and defense attorneys. Even attorneys can be considered public officials. Is that something now that the southern district is looking at, sort of that piece of it?" she asked. "Of how and why did Epstein get that ridiculous slap on the wrist that really shocks anyone’s conscious who understands how serious this case is.

She added that it could be both causes.