House asks for documents in probe into Epstein’s secret plea deal

By Associated Press Reporters

Democrats have asked for documents from federal prosecutors and Florida law enforcement in an investigation into how Jeffrey Epstein received a secret plea deal more than a decade ago after he was accused of molesting under-age girls.

The House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to US attorney general William Barr, asking for all emails about the plea deal and how victims should have been notified.

Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled the disgraced financier’s victims should have been consulted under federal law about the deal.

Epstein reached the deal in 2008 with then-Miami US attorney Alexander Acosta’s office to end the federal investigation that could have landed him in prison for life.

William Barr (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser state charges, spent 13 months in jail, paid financial settlements to victims and registered as a sex offender.

Mr Acosta was appointed labour secretary by President Donald Trump, but resigned in July amid renewed scrutiny of the plea deal.

The House committee asked for the documents by the first week in January.

The panel also sent a letter to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement commissioner Richard Swearingen, asking for documents related to its investigation into the deal and Epstein’s work-release arrangement at Palm Beach County’s jail.

During his 13-month stay at the jail, Epstein spent most days at his office. His driver would pick him and a guard up in the morning and he would spend the day working and meeting visitors, before returning to the jail to sleep.

He was also able to visit his Palm Beach mansion, despite restrictions on home visits.

Epstein, 66, killed himself in his New York City jail cell in August after federal agents arrested him on new sex trafficking charges.