Washington, DC – Today, the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) released the executive summary of its investigation into the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida’s handling of the criminal investigation of serial sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). OPR investigated five federal prosecutors, including former Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, and concluded that, while Acosta and his colleagues “exercised poor judgment” by resolving the investigation of Epstein through a secret and shockingly lenient plea deal, they did not violate the law or department regulation or policy.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus, issued the following response:
“To call the actions taken by former Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and his colleagues at the U.S. Attorney’s Office ‘poor judgment’ is the understatement of the year. The secret plea deal they reached with Epstein robbed survivors of justice and allowed a serial predator to roam free. The CVRA plainly states that victims have the right to confer with the government’s attorney and the right to be treated fairly, yet these rights were repeatedly ignored by the government. How is this NOT misconduct?”
Rep. Speier continued, “Though the CVRA was designed to address injustices like the obscenely lenient Epstein plea deal, it’s clear that there are gaping loopholes that must be closed. It took twelve years just to get the Department of Justice to carry out this sham of an investigation. The conclusion reached by OPR reeks of protectionism. To add insult to injury, DOJ continues to reveal only the barest minimum of details on its handling of the Epstein case. What are they hiding? The Department should immediately release the full report to the public, a request supported by Epstein survivor Courtney Wild, and Congress must pass my bipartisan bill to ensure no survivor is denied his or her rights when seeking justice.”
Rep. Speier's bill, the Courtney Wild Crime Victims’ Rights Reform Act of 2019, would strengthen the CVRA so that victims of crime are treated with the dignity they deserve throughout a criminal case and to avoid further victimization. Among other provisions, the bill clarifies that victims of federal crimes have the right to confer with the government and be informed about key pre-charging developments in a case, such as plea bargains, non-prosecution agreements, and referrals to state and local law enforcement.
Click here for the text of the bipartisan Courtney Wild Crime Victims’ Rights Reform Act of 2019, which has 27 cosponsors.