Federal prosecutors, including U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, broke federal law when signing a plea deal agreement with Jeffrey Epstein, a judge ruled Thursday.
Epstein, a former hedge fund manager, helped to operate an international sex ring operation in which he recruited underage girls in Florida and overseas. He was convicted of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution in 2010 and served only a year under house arrest at the time.
In a 33-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra said Epstein was not prosecuted under federal sex trafficking laws. Instead, Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami, helped devise a non-prosecution agreement that gave Epstein and those who worked with him immunity from federal prosecution, the Miami Herald reported.
“Petitioners and the other victims should have been notified of the Government’s intention to take that course of action before it bound itself under the [non-prosecution agreement],” Marra wrote.
The ruling did not issue a punishment. Marra gave the government and Epstein’s victims 15 days to come up with a resolution, though it’s unclear what that resolution could be.