Thursday, December 06, 2018

“Alexander Acosta is being unfairly criticized for his handling of Epstein’s plea deal”

That’s the title of my op-ed in the Miami Herald this morning.  It starts like this:
Alexander Acosta is arguably President Trump’s most successful cabinet member. For starters, job numbers and unemployment rates are breaking records under his supervision as Labor Secretary. And particularly noteworthy for this administration, Acosta has been scandal free. There have been no Twitter fights (like with Jeff Sessions), no misuse of government funds (like with six other cabinet members), or other similar issues (like with Louise Linton going off on Instagram).Instead, Acosta has done what he has always done — kept his head down, worked hard, and gotten good results.Because of his successes, there had been some whispers that Acosta was being considered, albeit as a long-shot, for Attorney General.Acosta, who has dedicated his life to public service (from the civil rights division to U.S. Attorney to dean of Florida International University School of Law to his current position in the cabinet), would have been an incredible choice.Then last week, the Miami Herald retold the story of Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal from over 10 years ago, when Secretary Acosta was U.S. Attorney Acosta. Although Epstein was required to plead guilty, register as a sex offender, pay restitution and go to state prison, there are many — including the New York TimesMiami Herald, and others — who are calling for Congress to investigate Acosta and force him out, equating Acosta’s approval of the deal to Epstein’s actions.Although it is fair to have an honest disagreement about the Epstein plea agreement, the attacks on Acosta are not justified. As for the merits of the agreement, it is important to remember that the federal government only prosecutes federal crimes.
I can’t republish the whole thing here, so please click on the link above and let me know your thoughts.  

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Anonymous said...

I think you make a fair point and did a good job at explaining to the layman how complicated our criminal system is. Do we know what ever happened to the Epstein's state case (if there was one at all)?

If this was largely a jurisdictional issue, the Herald should have, in all fairness, called out some of the state prosecutors as well rather than solely make Sec. Acosta the focus of their articles.

Anonymous said...

The real travesty is that the Herald has made your op-ed impossible to find on their website and didn't even post it to their FB page. Their agenda is pretty clear.

PR Young said...

Begging the question is rhetorically called' the logic of deceipt', not 'being
creative'. 'For starters' Nr. Acosta is not the factor in the unemployment rate numbers, and those numbers are a moot point. 'Particularly notable', Mr. Acosta is only 'scandal free', if you ignore the scandal. Mr. Epstein DID NOT go to state prison, (but his butler ended up in Federal incarceration?). The issue is Mr. Acosta's performance in representing Mr. Epstein, not the merits of a Cosby, Jackson, Cohen, Flynn, or the diffuculty of any other UNRELATRD case. It appears Mr. Acosta approved an illegal agreement that blocked the state system from dealing with a potential crime, and human trafficking is a federal crime under Title 18 of the United States Code. Section 1584. A child can NOT consent to sex.

Anonymous said...

Looking for anecdotes detailing this type of deal for a poor person of color.

Anonymous said...

Any proof there was a jurisdictional concern that factored into the deal, or are you just speculating? Im no expert but id bet it has nothing to do with the deal.

Anonymous said...

I cannot read the op-ed because it is behind the pay-wall. To the extent that you argue that a jurisdictional issue was a significant weakness in the case, I think that is so wrong that you should retract or correct your op-ed. Possible federal violations include the Mann Act, traveling interstate for purposes of engaging in sexual activity with a child and same with intent -- both justified because of the evidence that Epstein was bringing girls from out of the country and taking girls on his plane outside the state. How about the 30 year min-man child pornography production statute? U.S. v. Kent Frank was prosecuted while Acosta was USA. That defendant got 40 years for traveling to Cambodia where he paid girls under 18 to engage in sexual acts that he took pictures of. Acosta touted that outcome in a press release. Mr. Frank got what he deserved. The Epstein case was torpedoed before a full investigation could be had because he hired influential, high powered attorneys. The investigation had a lot of leads to follow which could have made this a solid case. With the high federal sentences involved and mandatory minimum, this was a true injustice that begs the question "what was Acosta thinking?", "what was he afraid of or what was he trying to avoid." Did any of these defense attorney's serve as references for his FIU job application?

Seems to me that you have a soft spot for Acosta because he took your calls and acted on your complaints about AUSA's who were driving hard bargains. Is there also a bias in favor of federal NPA agreements for defendants who hire high priced lawyers.

Anonymous said...

You seem to be ignoring that Acosta also agreed to do the court hearing in Miami (for crimes that occurred in Palm Beach) and to keep the non-prosecution agreement confidential so that victims could not show up and derail it. And he gave immunity to "any potential co-conspirators" involved in what was clearly a sophisticated sex trafficking operation involving 14 year old girls being shuttled not just in and out of his Palm Beach mansion but in and out of the country on his private planes.

Anonymous said...

I listened to what i could find about what acosta said about the case during confirmation hearings. He says nothing about jurisdictional concerns. DOM you are way off to suggest it played a role, and it tips your hand. If you look at his questioning by sen kaine on youtube, he actually brags he only was able to get the deal and jail time because they threatened a sex tourism charge. No jurisdictional issue there that's for sure.

Bottom line, he didn't want to try the case so he gave a sweetheart deal. He should have just indicted him and let additional victims come forward.

Acosta is bragging about registration? Please. Registration?

As allen Iverson might say, "we talkin bout registration?"

Anonymous said...

In terms of the merits, I have to look into it more.

However, this all happened years ago and the Herald did not do an article about this when it happened, or while Acosta was the US Attorney, or when he was dean of FIU Law, or when the civil lawsuits were flying, or when he became Secretary of Labor. Why now? Curious timing for this piece.

Anonymous said...

I read the entire Herald series, and disagree with your editorial. This was a sweetheart deal to end all deals--work release for a convicted sex offender and an agreement to keep the victims from showing up in court and objecting.
No matter how much you like him, Mr. Acosta deserves the heat.

Anonymous said...



"It is the perverse good fortune of Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s secretary of labor, to be part of an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve."


"Acosta, a Cuban-American with an accomplished career appointed by George W. Bush to the post of U.S. attorney in Miami, made for an expedient addition to Trump’s cabinet, as the president was under pressure to add a Hispanic from his support base in South Florida.

It’s perfectly in character for Trump, who also stands accused by a dozen women of sexual harassment and assault, to overlook that Acosta let a serial sexual predator of teen girls get away with a slap on the wrist and concealment of the case."

The timing isn't curious. The timing has to do with his association with trump. When do you think the herald's 1 year investigation began?