Before joining Trump's team, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta helped a serial child predator get an unconscionably lenient plea deal.
More than a dozen members of Congress are demanding an investigation into a member of Trump's Cabinet, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, after a bombshell report by the Miami Herald revealed that he once brokered a shockingly weak plea deal for the leader of a child sex trafficking ring.
In a letter to the Justice Department's Inspector General, lawmakers asked the agency to look into irregularities surrounding the 2007 plea deal between then-U.S. Attorney Acosta and serial child predator Jeffrey Epstein.
The Miami Herald's investigation identified more than 80 women who say they were victimized by Epstein, who regularly coerced underage women into a variety of sex acts in his posh Palm Beach mansion and then paid them for it. At least one woman alleges Epstein forcibly raped her and then paid her $1,000 to leave.
But rather than bring the full weight of the law down on a child sex trafficker, Acosta — who now has oversight over U.S. policy on sex trafficking — let Epstein cut a sweetheart deal.
Despite allegedly molesting hundreds of young girls, Epstein served just 13 months in a county jail after pleading guilty to two felony prostitution charges.
That meant some of Epstein's young victims were smeared as prostitutes, even though anyone under 18 who is paid for sex is legally considered to be a trafficking victim.
What's more, the Herald reported, the deal Acosta made "essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes."
Not only were Epstein and four of his accomplices granted immunity from federal charges, but broad immunity was also granted to any other "potential co-conspirators" who might come up in the course of an investigation.
The Herald reports that the FBI "had enough evidence to put Epstein away for a long time but was overruled by Acosta," who "buckled under pressure" from Epstein's high-powered lawyers to wrap the case up quietly — even as the FBI was uncovering new evidence against Epstein.
The Herald continues:
It’s clear, from emails and other records, that prosecutors spent a lot of time figuring out a way to settle the case with the least amount of scandal. Instead of charging Epstein with a sex offense, prosecutors considered witness tampering and obstruction charges, and misdemeanors that would allow Epstein to secretly plead guilty in Miami instead of in Palm Beach County, where most of the victims lived, thereby limiting media exposure and making it less likely for victims to appear at the sentencing.
Sadly, it is not unexpected that Trump would appoint a Cabinet member who showed preferential treatment to a pedophile.
And it's not just because Trump was personal friends with Epstein himself.
Trump, as well as the Republican Party, endorsed and campaigned for accused child molester Roy Moore in Alabama. Moore eventually lost to Democrat Doug Jones, but Trump stood by Moore every step of the way.
Trump's inner circle includes numerous appointees and advisers who have been accused of domestic violence or sexual misconduct.
Trump himself admitted to being a serial sexual predator when he was caught on tape bragging about grabbing women without their consent.
The fact that Trump would surround himself with other predators, and those who enable predators, is as unsurprising as it is disgusting.
It's also unsurprising that Democrats in Congress are now calling for Acosta to be investigated. Voters ushered in a new Democratic majority in part to provide a check on Trump and his morally bankrupt Cabinet.
Republicans repeatedly turned a blind eye to Trump's culture of corruption. But now Democrats are letting Acosta know that they intend to hold him, and every other member of Trump's team, accountable.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.