Charges previously dodged by Epstein in 2007 via his agreeing to a Florida state plea deal have came back to the forefront of the US justice system, as the 66-year-old registered sex offender appeared before Manhattan court on Monday.
Twelve years ago, these allegations were suppressed by the so-called “sweetheart deal” granted by then-US Attorney for South Florida and now-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, which sentenced Epstein to 18 months in prison and ordered him to register as a sex offender.
However, Epstein only served 13 of those months and, for six out of seven days a week, he was allowed to spend 12 hours daily within his office.
With Epstein now facing 45 years in prison, which US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman says is “basically a life sentence,” Hannah Dickinson, an associate professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and an organizer with the Geneva Women’s Assembly, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Monday to discuss the past, present and future of the 66-year-old sex offender.
“In addition to this really shockingly lenient deal that Epstein received from Acosta, Acosta did a few other really troubling things,” Dickinson told Loud and Clear host Brian Becker. “Victims not only got no chance to comment or testify, they didn’t even know this was happening or had happened.”
“The charges allege that Epstein sexually abused young girls by enticing them to engage in sex acts for money,” Berman said Monday. “Underage girls were initially recruited to provide Epstein with massages and often did so nude, or partially nude. These massages became increasingly sexual in nature and would typically include one or more sex acts, as specified in the indictment.”
The federal prosecutor went on to say that the girls, some as young as 14 years old, who were already deep within Epstein’s sex ring would be paid to recruit other underage girls to be abused by Epstein and his associates. This system, according to the unsealed case, allowed the billionaire to secure an “ever-expanding web of new victims”.
Epstein’s list of associates includes Trump and Clinton, British Princes Andrew and Charles, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and attorney Alan Dershowitz.
Dickinson went on to point out that emails obtained from Acosta showed him corresponding with the lead prosecutor in Florida, discussing how certain filings would “cut down on press coverage” of the trial.
“This cover-up is not just because Epstein is rich, but because a whole bunch of other people are gonna be in trouble as this case plays out,” Dickinson told Sputnik.
Becker added that the negotiation of Epstein’s plea deal never took into account the wishes of the dozens of victims who brought allegations against the billionaire.
This violation was highlighted by a US district judge in Florida back in February, who ruled prosecutors did not abide by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which calls for the plea deal to be shared with the victims and also gives them an opportunity to oppose it.
“These victims have now grown up. Many of them are mothers, nurses, teachers, but others have been incarcerated; one young woman was recently found dead - overdosed on heroin. So, the kind of trauma of the sexual exploitation these girls experienced and then the additional trauma of all the miscarriage of justice here has real consequences for real people that, so far, Epstein has basically been able to get away with,” Dickinson noted.
The professor concluded by pointing out that not only was Epstein shielded by high profile friends and a justice system comprising both Democrats and Republicans, but he specifically chose prey on “low income girls,” including girls who were homeless, in foster care or did not have a stable support system of people to come to their aid.
Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday and was ordered to be held without bail until his next hearing, slated for July 15.