The Justice Department’s disciplinary arm concluded that then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta in Florida exhibited “poor judgment” but not “professional misconduct” in signing off on a generous deal for the late Jeffrey Epstein to resolve allegations he molested dozens of young girls, drawing rebukes from victims’ lawyers and even the case’s lead prosecutor, reports the Washington Post. Officials on Thursday released a summary of an investigation into the handling of Epstein’s case, now more than a decade old, and briefed victims and their lawyers on its findings. The summary chastised Acosta’s judgment and acknowledged Epstein’s victims were treated poorly, but it said investigators did not find evidence his decision to OK the deal “was based on corruption or other impermissible considerations, such as Epstein’s wealth, status, or associations.”
The summary said other prosecutors on the case had not committed professional misconduct. Marie Villafaña, the case’s lead attorney, issued a statement saying she was disappointed that the full investigative report by DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), had not been released and calling the outcome in Epstein’s case “patently unjust.” She said, “That injustice … was the result of deep, implicit institutional biases that prevented me and the FBI agents who worked diligently on this case from holding Mr. Epstein accountable for his crimes.” Lawyers for the victims criticized the report. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE), who has been critical of the department’s handling of the Epstein matter, also blasted the conclusion. “Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t ‘poor judgment’ — it is a disgusting failure,” Sasse said.