Washington, DC – Today, under a Democratic Women's Caucus-led letter, House Democrats requested that the House Oversight and Reform and Judiciary Committees investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's 2008 sweetheart plea deal and recent suicide.
Jeffrey Epstein, a well-known billionaire with deep political connections, was accused of molesting and trafficking dozens of young women since the late 1990s. To the dismay of many, the United States Attorney of South Florida arranged a plea deal under which Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to lesser, prostitution-related charges without notice to any of the victims, in clear violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. Epstein received a minimal sentence and unnamed persons were granted immunity.
“Lady Justice has been manhandled – her blindfold askew and scales stacked with cash at the expense of victims robbed of their right to be heard and respected,” said Rep. Speier (CA-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “Congress has a duty to give these victims a platform and shine a bright light on the shadowy circumstances surrounding this preferential plea deal. Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes were not restricted to him alone. All those who aided and abetted in this travesty of justice must answer for their illegal conduct. The survivors of Epstein’s exploitation demand and deserve nothing less.”
“Epstein's victims deserve justice and the public needs to know why a prolific child molester got a slap on the wrist instead of a long prison sentence,” said Rep. Frankel (FL-21), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus, Member of Congress representing the district where many of Epstein’s crimes took place. “Persons with relevant information should be questioned under oath and survivors should be given a forum to be heard if they so desire.”
“Jeffrey Epstein preyed on young, innocent children and though he cannot be brought to justice today, those people who were accomplices in the horrible 2008 plea deal put in place in Florida must provide answers to why such leniency was given to Mr. Epstein,” said Rep. Lawrence (MI-14), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “We understand that these young women need some sense of closure for falling victim to these terrible crimes. A hearing may not give them complete closure but it will allow them an opportunity to receive the answer to that important question, why?”
“Despite Jeffrey Epstein's death, Congress has the responsibility to investigate and shed light on the disturbing agreement reached with the U.S. Justice Department that silenced victims and failed to bring Mr. Epstein to justice,” said Rep. Escobar (TX-16), Vice Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus. “His victims still deserve justice and they should be afforded the opportunity to come forward and share their stories to prevent more atrocities and abuses of power like this.”
“Women should never be used as political pons or objects to the rich and powerful. We must get to the bottom of the allegations, so that all women feel safe and know that our country won't stand for this unacceptable and criminal behavior,” said Rep. Deb Haaland (NM-01), Vice Chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus.
The letter concluded, “While we cannot undo the damage Epstein has caused the victims of his abuse, the survivors of Epstein’s exploitation and manipulation deserve a forum to be heard and both they and the public deserve transparency and answers to unresolved questions. The victims should be given an opportunity to tell their own stories and the government and law enforcement officials involved be required to explain under oath the highly unusual treatment afforded to Jeffrey Epstein.”
To read the full letter, click here.