Senator Ben Sasse criticized the Justice Department on Thursday after it completed its investigation into a 2008 non-criminal case of Jeffrey Epstein.
Sasse, who is the chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Judicial Oversight, attacked the findings, which concluded that federal prosecutors had “poor judgment” when they granted Epstein a “sweetheart deal.
“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking is not ‘bad judgment’ – it’s a disgusting failure,” the Nebraska Republican said in the statement. “Americans should be outraged.”
The investigation reviewed the conduct of former federal prosecutors, including Alex Acosta, former Secretary of Labor for President Donald Trump, who oversaw a controversial deal with Epstein 12 years ago.
In a statement following Sasse’s response, the Department of Justice said that its Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) “concluded that former U.S. Attorney Acosta showed poor judgment when he decided to end the federal investigation through the Non-Accusation Agreement and failed to ensure that the State of Florida intended and would inform the victims identified by the federal investigation about the federal appeals hearing.
The investigation also revealed that none of the federal prosecutors in this case exhibited “professional misconduct.
Acosta and the other prosecutors investigated allegations that Epstein allegedly abused dozens of teenage girls in the early 2000s.
Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida – where Acosta was a prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida at the time – to the charges of a victim, which ended the federal investigation and allowed Epstein to waive a long prison sentence.
In the end he served 13 months and was allowed to leave the facility almost every day under a work release program. Last year, Epstein died by suicide in a federal prison while awaiting trial on new sex-trafficking charges.
“Jeffrey Epstein was supposed to rot behind bars today, but the Justice Department abandoned Epstein’s victim at every turn. The Justice Department’s crooked deal with Epstein has dropped the investigation of his child sex trafficking ring and protected his co-conspirators in other states,” Sasse said in his statement.
Two other federal investigations in connection with Epstein’s activities are still ongoing. Last summer, New York state attorneys, who are still investigating his sex trafficking ring, accused Epstein’s alleged co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell of recruiting young girls for Epstein to abuse.
“Justice has not been served. The full report must be made available to the public. The OPR may have completed its report, but we have a duty to make sure that this never happens again,” Sasse said Thursday.
Last year, Acosta resigned as minister of labor. Sasse voted to confirm it in 2017. Acosta’s involvement in the Epstein Plea deal was known when his nomination was considered by the U.S. Senate.
Washington Newsday turned to the Department of Justice for comment and was referred to the statement cited above.