Murray, Kaine Urge Department of Justice to Publicize Findings of Investigation into Handling of Jeffrey Epstein Case
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) sent a letter to the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), urging OPR to make public its findings from its investigation into then-U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta’s handling of a criminal investigation into serial sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta, who is currently serving as the Secretary of Labor, allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution for sex trafficking charges involving dozens of underage victims in what the Miami Herald called, “the deal of a lifetime.”
“As new information continues to be revealed, it has become ever clearer that the non prosecution agreement was a miscarriage of justice and that the victims and the public deserve a full accounting of how this matter was handled by the attorneys at DOJ,” the Senators wrote. “Accordingly, we ask that once OPR has concluded its investigation into the handling of the Epstein matter, it publish all of its findings without delay.”
At the time of the agreement, Epstein was under investigation for assembling a large network of underage girls and coercing them into sexual acts, including one victim who claimed she was recruited into Epstein’s “sexually exploitative world” while working at the Mar-a-Lago Club at age 16. The agreement then-U.S. Attorney Acosta brokered reportedly shut down an ongoing FBI investigation into international sex trafficking by Mr. Epstein and his associates.
Senators Murray and Kaine previously urged the DOJ Inspector General’s office to conduct an independent investigation. Recently, a federal judge ruled that federal prosecutors in Secretary Acosta’s office violated the law by failing to notify Epstein’s victims of the planned agreement. Given the previous lack of information provided to survivors, substantial public interest, the involvement of a sitting Cabinet official, and the need for Congressional oversight, the Senators urged OPR to release its findings to the public as soon as the investigation is complete.
The text of the letter is below and the PDF can be found HERE.
April 12, 2019
Mr. Corey Amundson
Director and Chief Counsel
Office of Professional Responsibility
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Mr. Amundson,
We write to request the Department of Justice' s (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) make public all findings from its investigation into whether federal prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida committed professional misconduct when dealing with the criminal matter involving Jeffery Epstein.
There has been substantial public interest in the propriety and legality of Mr. Epstein's plea agreement, which was brokered on behalf of DOJ by then-United States Attorney R. Alexander Acosta, who currently serves as Secretary of Labor. The agreement allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution for sex trafficking charges involving dozens of underage victims in exchange for pleading guilty to two charges in a state court. The agreement, which reportedly shut down an ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigation into international sex trafficking by Mr. Epstein and his associates, was signed despite the existence of a 53-page draft indictment prepared by prosecutors outlining Mr. Epstein' s crimes.
Several of Mr. Epstein' s victims have taken civil action in federal court, including one victim who stated she was recruited into Mr. Epstein' s "sexually exploitative world" at the age of 16 while working as a changing room assistant at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida. Shortly after OPR announced it was investigating the handling of Mr. Epstein's case, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra ruled that federal prosecutors in Secretary Acosta' s office violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act by failing to appropriately notify Mr. Epstein's victims of the non-prosecution agreement. In the opinion, the judge wrote that prosecutors worked to conceal the existence of the agreement from the victims in order to "mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility."
OPR has indicated that it will share its results at the conclusion of its investigation "as appropriate" and "consistent to past practices," but OPR has not yet committed to share a full version of the report with its findings with Congress, the survivors, and the public. Though OPR policies and procedures substantially restrict the use and public disclosure of its records, there must be legitimate oversight by Congress and answers for survivors and the public, particularly when those records concern a present Cabinet official.
As new information continues to be revealed, it has become ever clearer that the non prosecution agreement was a miscarriage of justice and that the victims and the public deserve a full accounting of how this matter was handled by the attorneys at DOJ. Accordingly, we ask that once OPR has concluded its investigation into the handling of the Epstein matter, it publish all of its findings without delay.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.