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DOJ: federal prosecutors involved in Epstein deal did not break law
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DOJ: federal prosecutors involved in Epstein deal did not break law

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) released an executive summary of a report Thursday, which states that the prosecutors in Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 federal criminal investigation did not break the law, although they did exercise poor judgment. The prosecutors involved in the 2008 investigation worked at the US Attorney’s Office (USAO) in the Southern District of Florida. The investigation regarded Epstein’s alleged engagement in illegal sexual activity with females under 18.

The FBI worked with an Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) during the investigation. In May 2007 the AUSA “submitted to her supervisors a draft 60-count indictment outlining charges against Epstein.” In September 2007 a federal non-prosecution agreement (NPA) was signed, ending the federal investigation. As per the NPA, Epstein pleaded guilty in state court for the state charge of felony solicitation of prostitution and for the procurement of minors to engage in prostitution. He was incarcerated for less than 13 months.

The government did not consult victims when resolving the investigation through the NPA. After the NPA was signed, the government sent victims letters indicating that the investigation was ongoing, resulting in the victims’ belief that there was still potential for federal prosecution.

The OPR opened an investigation into the prosecutors’ alleged misconduct in February 2019. The subjects of the investigation were “former US Attorney [Alex] Acosta, three former USAO supervisors, and the AUSA.” The investigation (1) considered whether there was professional misconduct regarding the NPA; and (2) evaluated USAO’s interactions with victims. It specifically questioned whether the USAO violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when it neglected to consult victims about the NPA prior to its signing and misled victims regarding the investigation’s status. During its investigation, OPR reviewed USAO and FBI records, interviewed witnesses, and examined relevant case law, statutes, and other relevant rules.

The OPR held Acosta responsible for the NPA. It found “that the subjects did not commit professional misconduct with respect to the development, negotiation, and approval of the NPA” but did exercise poor judgment. Additionally, it also found “that the subjects did not commit professional misconduct with respect to the government’s interactions with victims.” The OPR concluded that the victims were not given the DOJ’s expected level of sensitivity. The DOJ briefed the victims on this executive summary in order to respect their rights and dignity.