(JTA) — Federal prosecutors broke the law when they signed a plea bargain with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire who was convicted in 2008 of soliciting a teenage girl to prostitution, a judge in Florida said.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra culminated more than a decade of litigation stemming from a lawsuit filed in 2008 by two of Epstein’s victims.
Marra wrote that the prosecutors, including U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, concealed information from victims of Epstein, who had been operating an international sex operation involving underage girls in Florida and overseas, the Miami Herald reported Thursday.
Marra’s ruling is not likely to result in the reopening of the trial against Epstein, who was released from his 13-month prison term in 2009, the Herald reported.
The lawsuit claimed that prosecutors violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which grants victims of federal crimes the ability to confer with prosecutors about a possible plea deal, among other rights.
In November, the Herald reported on what it called the “extraordinary” plea deal under which Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges and served just 13 months in the county jail. The agreement ended an FBI investigation into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part.
Acosta in 2008 was the U.S. attorney in Miami, and he helped negotiate a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and his co-conspirators immunity from federal prosecution, according to the Herald.
“Particularly problematic was the Government’s decision to conceal the existence of the [agreement] and mislead the victims to believe that federal prosecution was still a possibility,’’ Marra wrote.