Thursday, July 11, 2019
Political Mayhem Thursday: The King of Pedophile Island
Earlier this week, prosecutors in the federal Southern District of New York indicted financier Jeffrey Epstein on charges of child sex trafficking. His homes were located in New Mexico, Palm Beach, New York City and a private island in the Caribbean (pictured above) that was known to locals as "predator island." Besides President Trump, his circle of friends included Bill Clinton and a remarkable array of others.
Here is the thing: Epstein got caught twelve years ago, and was set to be prosecuted in Florida. Then the feds, led by then-US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alex Acosta, cut him a sweet deal: plead guilty to state charges and do about a year of "soft time" which allowed him to go to work during the days. Not long after that, he issued a press release on a case where a pedophile--who did bad things, but probably not more than Epstein--got 27 years.
Yesterday, Acosta, who is now serving as Secretary of Labor for some reason, defended his actions. It was the state's fault. He didn't have enough evidence. It was too hot out. [Ok, I made up the last one, but it would have fit right in] His explanation was not convincing to many people.
It is interesting to see such a vigorous discussion of prosecutorial discretion. I will say this: I was shocked at the time that someone facing the charges alleged against Epstein would get off so lightly. I knew from my own work that many people whose crime consisted of possessing a small amount of child pornography got much longer sentences. But... they were not rich.
There are not different "rules" for the rich and influential, as some people say. The rules are the same. What is different is the employment of discretion by people in power who favor the rich and influential as they act within those rules. Acosta broke no "rules" by giving the sweetheart deal to a friend of his friends. The truth is more subtle, more hidden, and more insidious.