BY BRENDAN PIERSON
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a 2007 deal between federal prosecutors and Jeffrey Epstein that allowed the financier to avoid federal sex trafficking charges, finding it did not violate his victims’ rights.
“It’s not a result we like, but it’s the result we think the law requires,” the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in its opinion, which overturned a ruling by a federal judge last year that the agreement violated the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act.
Epstein was arrested on new sex trafficking charges last year and was found hanged while in jail awaiting trial. His death was ruled a suicide.
A lawyer for Courtney Wild, the woman who petitioned to overturn Epstein’s non-prosecution deal, could not immediately be reached for comment.
Before reaching the deal with federal prosecutors in Florida, Epstein was facing potential federal indictment for sexually abusing dozens of girls as young as 14 between 1999 and 2007, directing others to abuse them and paying employees to bring victims to him, according to court filings.
However, the prosecutors agreed not to pursue the against the financier in exchange for his 2008 guilty plea to Florida state prostitution charges. Epstein was sentenced to 13 months in jail after that plea, but allowed to leave regularly to go to his office.
U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida ruled in February 2019 that the deal was illegal because Epstein’s victims were not told about it. However, the judge ruled last September that the victims could not collect money damages. [nL2N26715F]
The 11th Circuit on Tuesday called the facts of the Epstein case a “national disgrace” but said the victims’ rights law did not apply because Epstein was never actually charged.