Prosecutors meted out a special kind of justice for Jeffrey Epstein, larded with fawning obsequiousness, secret dealings and an astoundingly lenient sentence. After all, billionaires — even billionaire sex abusers — aren’t like you and me.
Investigators documented that at least 34 underage girls, some as young as 13, were repeatedly exploited by Epstein and his buddies for their carnal amusement at his Palm Beach mansion from 1999 to 2007. According to court documents, the girls were required to administer “topless or nude massage while Mr. Epstein masturbated himself.” Occasionally, “the conduct escalated to full sexual intercourse.”
State and federal prosecutors happily reduced what amounted to hundreds of federal and state sex crimes to two state charges — soliciting prostitution and procuring a person younger than 18 for prostitution. Meanwhile, the feds not only promised not to ring him up on federal charges, they granted immunity to his various co-conspirators.
The federal prosecutors — who seemed cowed by Epstein’s high powered attorneys, including Roy Black, Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz — worked out the secret plea deal without bothering to inform victims that their abuser would be spared federal charges.
The failure to notify the victims has been at the crux of a federal lawsuit filed in West Palm Beach against the U.S. attorney’s office in 2008 by two of the young women, identified as Jane Doe No. 1 and Jane Doe No. 2. On Wednesday, their attorneys filed a 57-page motion demanding a summary judgment in their favor.
Whether or not, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra grants the motion, the document (along with the scores of attachments containing nearly apologetic emails and letters from prosecutors to Epstein’s legal team) sure as hell prove that billionaires are treated with special deference in the U.S. justice system.
The correspondence shows prosecutors trying mightily to contrive a sweet plea deal that could be finalized before the victims or the media got wind of it. One exchange suggested that he plead guilty in Miami, “which would hopefully cut the press coverage significantly.”
No wonder. Epstein received a piddling 18-month sentence for a crime that got less exalted sex offenders in Florida 10 or 15 years hard time. His less-than-hard-time amounted to 13 months in the Palm Beach County stockade. Except he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week at his nicely appointed office as part of a work-release program. He then served the balance of his sentence under house arrest — quite an imposition for someone with a luxury mansion on the barrier island.
Consider that this occurred at a time when low-rent sex offenders were forced to live like apocalyptic trolls beneath Miami’s Julia Tuttle Causeway without water, toilets, electricity.
Of course, super rich Epstein, 62, managed to avoid such indignities. Nowadays, the convict is occasionally featured in tabloid photos, snapped as he flits about New York in the company of young, beautiful women. Justice — the special justice for billionaires — has been served.