Investigators discovered a safe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion that held “piles of cash,” diamonds and an expired passport from a foreign country which had what appeared to be Mr. Epstein’s photo, but was registered to a fake name and listed his residence as Saudi Arabia.
Prosecutors revealed the safe’s contents as they argued in Federal District Court in Manhattan that Mr. Epstein should be denied bail before his sex-trafficking and conspiracy trial because he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. He is accused of abusing dozens of underage girls at his residences in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla.
Two women who say they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein also spoke at the hearing, urging Judge Richard M. Berman to deny him bail.
“He’s a scary person to have walking the streets,” said Courtney Wild, one of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who said she was assaulted at age 14.
Judge Berman said he would not rule until Thursday about whether Mr. Epstein should be granted bail while he awaits trial.
His attorneys say Mr. Epstein has been law-abiding for more than a decade.
“He didn’t re-engage in this activity,” one of his lawyers, Martin Weinberg, told the judge on Monday, adding, “It’s not like he’s an out-of-control rapist.”
But prosecutors, citing what they called Mr. Epstein’s “yearslong scheme to sexually abuse underage girls” and his fortune of at least $500 million, have argued that Mr. Epstein would pose a danger to the community and might flee the country if granted bond.
The government had also said Mr. Epstein might try to obstruct justice if he were given bail. Prosecutors said that last year he wired $350,000 to two people who were potential witnesses against him at a trial.
Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said on Monday that the payment could have been “an act of generosity” to Mr. Epstein’s associates, and that government lawyers were unable to prove otherwise.
Mr. Epstein, 66, who faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on the charges, has been held since his July 6 arrest in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, a highly secure jail that has housed accused terrorists, mobsters and, recently, the Mexican drug lord El Chapo.
In 2008, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges in Florida as part of a secret deal with federal prosecutors to satisfy a potential indictment on similar charges. He ended up serving a 13-month sentence in a local jail and avoided federal prosecution.
That deal was brokered by R. Alexander Acosta, a former United States attorney in Miami who resigned last week as President Trump’s Labor Secretary after public outrage over the Epstein agreement reached a fever pitch.
On Monday, defense lawyers for Mr. Epstein listed four additional Justice Department officials — two of whom now hold high-level government positions — who approved Mr. Epstein’s deal at the time.
Beyond Mr. Acosta, the agreement not to prosecute Mr. Epstein was approved by Mark Filip, then the deputy attorney general, and Alice Fisher, who at the time led the Justice Department’s criminal division. Both have since departed the government for private practice.
According to Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, the deal was also cleared by Sigal P. Mandelker and John Roth, who were both senior officials in the Justice Department.
Ms. Mandelker is currently an under secretary for the Department of the Treasury, and Mr. Roth serves as the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.
At the time, Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said, government officials acknowledged federal interest in the case but upheld Mr. Acosta’s authority to negotiate the deal.
Epstein Paid $350,000 to Possible Witnesses Against Him, Prosecutors Say
Defense Lawyers Seek Detention at Home for Jeffrey Epstein
Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. @BenWeiserNYT
Ali Watkins is a reporter on the Metro Desk, covering courts and social services. Previously, she covered national security in Washington for The Times, BuzzFeed and McClatchy Newspapers. @AliWatkins
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Back in 2008, when Alex Acosta was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, his office secretly cut a sweetheart deal for child rapist and sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. Now Acosta has been watching as increasingly damning evidence piles up, revealing that he was responsible for letting Epstein off the hook the first time around, and filters into the public consciousness. So he took a page from Donald Trump’s sexual assault impunity playbook at a press conference on Wednesday and denied any responsibility for any of his actions, refused to apologize to hundreds of victims who were children at the time, and instead blamed everyone from state prosecutors to the victims themselves. On Friday morning, he resigned as secretary of labor, but it hardly seems like enough.
Thanks to dogged reporting from Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald, we know that a 53-page indictment drafted by Acosta’s own office was based on the statements of dozens of victims, and yet Acosta still brokered a plea deal allowing Epstein to register as a sex offender and spend just 13 months in the Palm Beach County jail. Epstein was allowed to be picked up by a car on 12 hours of daily work release from the prison, six days a week. A Florida judge ruled earlier this year that the non-prosecution agreement violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act because the witnesses were never consulted or informed that it had happened.
Epstein was charged Monday, by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, with running a sex trafficking operation. A search of his home revealed hundreds if not thousands of images of naked women, and, according to federal authorities, “some of the nude or partially-nude photographs appear to be of underage girls.” New York authorities specifically credited the Miami Herald, which has surfaced many other questionable details about the case, with helping lead them to new evidence. On Tuesday another woman came forward with allegations that she had been raped by Epstein as a teenager: Jennifer Araoz told NBC News that she was approached at age 14 in 2001 by a woman who took her to Epstein’s home where she was paid to give him massages in her underwear, and that he raped her when she was 15.
Acosta’s tactic Wednesday consisted of blaming state prosecutors first, and the victims second. His claim is that he’s actually a good guy, because when the state authorities decided to pursue charges that would have failed to result in jail time, his office stepped in to press for a more draconian sanction. “Simply put, the Palm Beach state attorney’s office was willing to let Epstein walk free, no jail time, nothing,” he said. “We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail.” The deal had Epstein plead guilty to two state prostitution charges, resulting in the jail time and sex offender registration, though he also had to pay restitution to the victims.
Acosta’s tactic Wednesday consisted of blaming state prosecutors first, and the victimssecond.
Acosta’s version of the story has a million problems. Barry Krischer, Palm Beach state attorney at the time, immediately lit into Acosta for trying to “rewrite history” by blaming state authorities. “I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong,” Krischer told the New York Times. “No matter how my office resolved the state charges, the U.S. attorney’s office always had the ability to file its own federal charges. If Mr. Acosta was truly concerned with the state’s case and felt he had to rescue the matter, he would have moved forward with the 53-page indictment that his own office drafted.” Conveniently, each office has shifted the blame onto the other, so nobody bears any responsibility. Regardless, who gets to bring charges in such a case is never the sort of zero-sum turf battle either man is making it out to be—as former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade notes: “He could have allowed the state prosecutor to do whatever he wanted with the state case and still pursued his own separate federal charges. Sometimes prosecutors work cooperatively with state prosecutors to work out a global resolution when it is in their clients’ mutual interest, but it is certainly not required.” In other words, Acosta is pretending when he says he was jammed by state prosecutors.
Among Acosta’s most revealing claims were those about the absence of compelling evidence. It bears repeating that Brown, the Herald reporter, points out that Acosta had at his office’s disposal “36 girls who all told the same story, which is amazing.” The New York Times says there were 40 victims at the time the deal was struck. And as the Timesfurther revealed, in a profile of Julie Brown, “Early in the process, she received a heavily redacted police report that was more than 100 pages long and mentioned more than 100 Jane Does.”
More than 100 Jane Does. As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake points out, the new claim that Acosta had to agree to the sweetheart deal in order to prevent Epstein getting off for less is simply absurd. “Why did that decision have to be made right then and there?” Blake wrote. “If the evidence wasn’t there yet to be confident in a large-scale federal case, why not investigate further and hopefully uncover what federal prosecutors in New York revealed on Monday?” The new indictment includes ample evidence that had already been collected when the non-prosecution agreement was signed. When asked about this at his press conference, Acosta said other jurisdictions were free to pursue other investigations (and 10 years later New York did! See, the system works!) and that victims were also free to pursue civil remedies. (See, the system works!)
In point of fact, the system did work perfectly. To protect a child predator, that is. What you are witnessing here is Acosta seeking refuge in a country that allows jurisdictions to both point fingers at one another and reverse-engineer their own fact-finding to highlight only the smallest quantum of evidence. As was the case with the federal “investigations” into claims about White House chief of staff Rob Porter’s brutal and persistent battery of his partners, and Brett Kavanaugh’s alleged sexual misconduct toward women, investigations are only as effective as the investigator’s willingness to look. Alex Acosta did not look very hard. Instead, Alex Acosta chose to sign a non-prosecution agreement around what he opted to see, which is what he wanted to see, which was close to nothing.
As important as Acosta’s willingness to blame state prosecutors is his willingness to avert his own eyes. Because the only way to have 100 Jane Doe interviews and a 53-page draft indictment and to still see so very, very little misconduct is to blame the victims themselves. And so, on Wednesday, Alex Acosta went on to do just that, as David Graham observed. In the single most grotesque moment in a wholly grotesque public event, Acosta, when asked what he’d tell Jeffrey Epstein’s victims, said this: “The message is you need to come forward. I heard this morning that another victim came forward and made horrendous, horrendous allegations, allegations that should never happen to any woman, much less a young girl. And as victims come forward, these cases can be brought and they can be brought by the federal government, they can be brought by state attorneys, and they will be brought.”
Acosta, who worked for a president who routinely claims that all sexual assault victims are solely in it for the money, went on to quote prosecutors in his office who described girls too terrified to come forward because they were scared of being shamed and trashed by defense counsel. As he said of a female prosecutor in his office, “She talks about the challenges faced, she talks about the victims being scared and traumatized, refusing to testify, and how some victims actually exonerated Epstein. Most had significant concerns about their identities being revealed. The acts that they had faced were horrible and they didn’t want people to know about them.” He added that the victims worried they would be disparaged for seeking monetary reparations—“and it became clear that they were going to receive money if he was convicted, how that would impeach their credibility”—buying into the Trumpist narrative that any accuser who ever accepts compensation could legitimately have their credibility questioned.
Taken in sum, Acosta seems to be saying that the real impediment to a just resolution is the unreliable and fickle victims, who are afraid the system won’t take them seriously (as he didn’t) and who are afraid of being talked about derisively (in precisely the ways he now does). As Adam Horowitz, a lawyer for seven of the victims, told the New York Times on Wednesday, the young women were indeed scared to testify—because the prosecutors themselves had terrified them. “The prosecutors were saying, ‘These defense lawyers are going to go through your whole personal life, dig up your bad acts and your sex life,’ ” Horowitz said. “When they heard that from prosecutors, sure they were intimidated. They kept saying, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ ”
Finally, Acosta posited that he is off the hook because life is significantly better for accusers in 2019. “We live in a very different world. Today’s world treats victims very, very differently. Today’s world does not allow some of the victim shaming that could have taken place at trial 12 years ago,” he urged. Apparently, Acosta has never heard of E. Jean Carroll, Christine Blasey Ford, or Summer Zervos, each of whom has been called a cash-seeking liar by the president of the United States, Acosta’s boss. He also falsely implied that the federal rules of evidence and the Crime Victims’ Rights Act either didn’t exist or didn’t preclude lawyers from “victim shaming” back in 2007, which is not true.
Anyway, to recap: Acosta arrived at the laughable 2008 agreement because he chose to ignore everything that could have been something. He did that by allowing the victims to be terrified and then blaming them for it, by creating an imaginary deadline by which he would have to close his investigation and finalize a deal, and by diffusing responsibility for bringing Epstein to justice among state authorities, civil litigation, other federal jurisdictions, and the victims themselves. Acosta’s entire mission is to push the blame outward, but in doing so, he has instead offered up a case study in institutional cowardice and complicity.
Acosta arrived at the laughable 2008 agreement because he chose to ignore everything that could have beensomething.
Just because we can blame Acosta does not mean it’s his fault alone. It’s a mistake to leave out the many, many other men who determined that they too had not seen enough evidence to act decisively, which includes Vanity Fair’sGraydon Carter, who believed reporter Vicky Ward had amassed insufficient evidence of Epstein’s sexual depravity to keep it in a reported story in 2003, telling Politico, “In the end, we didn’t have confidence in Ward’s reporting. We were not in the habit of running away from a fight. But she simply didn’t have the goods.” It includes Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who allowed a prosecutor at a 2011 hearing to seek to reduce Epstein’s sex offender status to the lowest possible classification. It includes a system that, as the New York Post reports, ensured Epstein was permitted by the NYPD to skip every one of his court-mandated check-ins. It appears everyone evaluated all the evidence through their money-colored glasses.
And, as in any story about wealth and privilege and access, it also seems to come down to a trio of lawyers—all from Kirkland & Ellis, as Joe Conason notes—Kenneth Starr, Alex Acosta, and Jay Lefkowitz, who worked together to grease the skids for Epstein. As Lefkowitz, representing Epstein, memorialized in a 2007 letter, Acosta would not inform “any of the identified individuals, potential witnesses or potential civil claimants” against Epstein about the terms or existence of the sweetheart deal. That too, says Acosta, was done to protect … the victims.
So please. Just please. Stop saying victims don’t come forward. Stop saying you wish more of them would come forward. If you have not only not made it easier for them to do so, but have used your professional status and authority to make it far harder, you are lying when you say that. This is not just about Alex Acosta, or Bill Clinton, or Alan Dershowitz, or Donald Trump, or any one man. It’s not about Senate Republicans, who were evidently capable of feeling shame three years ago, but are wholly dead to it today. It is about entire hierarchies of wealth and invulnerability that first avoid looking at abused women and then insist it is their own fault they are invisible. As Rebecca Solnit aptly put it yesterday, “These men could not do what they did without a culture—lawyers, journalists, judges, friends—that protected them, valued them, devalued their victims and survivors. They do not act alone, and their might is nothing more or less than the way a system rewards and protects them, which is another definition of rape culture. That is, their impunity is not inherent; it’s something the society grants them and can take away.”
Decreasing that impunity would require making a choice, a rare choice, a choice that nobody seems to be making, to privilege abused women over powerful predators. Even as we swim in this sea of revealed abuse, consider the individual actors who, again and again, fail to make that choice. When you do, you don’t just see the results of their actions, you witness how they defend their inaction. It’s almost an art form now, and Alex Acosta is just the latest example of a man accused of wrongdoing who insists that everyone but himself is wrong. The Herald excoriated Acosta for failing to show “an ounce of sympathy for the vulnerable girls Epstein sexually exploited.” That’s perhaps because Acosta now lives in a world where all that matters is what the president thinks. This is where enablers of sexual predators end up when they enable new sexual predators.
If you can manage nothing else, pay attention only to this: Reports surfaced Wednesday via the Guardianthat as labor secretary, Acosta proposed an 80 percent funding cut to a section of his own department known as the International Labor Affairs Bureau. That is the department that combats child sex trafficking. This administration is not just covering up for those who rape children and those who get away with raping children. They are making the rape of children invisible. They are ensuring that we can’t see it and we can’t investigate it, and before you know it, it will be as if it never even happened at all. And America’s child rape problem will have been “solved.”
Update, July 12, 2018: This piece has been updated to reflect Alex Acosta’s Friday resignation as secretary of labor.
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The home is also the site of the private Baby Love daycare center, where the alleged abuse took place.
“We understand the pain and anger of the parents but a red line was crossed. People took the law into their own hands, acting thuggish and endangering lives,” Mouda’s lawyer Guy Ein-Zvi said in a statement.
“Carmela’s trial should be held in court and not the town square,” he added.
A protest organized by parents against Mouda scheduled for Saturday evening was called off after the fire. A lawyer representing the parents denied they were involved.
“The parents of the children are angry and shocked over the grave crimes that were carried out, but are not criminals and I have no doubt that a thorough investigation will conclude they have no connection to the fire,” lawyer Benjamin Malka told Hebrew media.
Firefighters work to extinguish blaze at the home of Carmel Mouda in the central city of Rosh Ha’ayin on July 6, 2019. (Israel Police)
Neighbors reacted angrily to the suspected arson.
“Everyone is taking the law into their own hands,” a woman told the Kan public broadcaster. “In another 30 seconds my granddaughters and I would’ve gone up in flames.”
Mouda, 25, was arrested three weeks ago. The children in her care were aged three months to three years.
“I’m in shock,” a parent told Channel 13 news. “My son is in almost every video tied to a chair or [tied up] on the floor, and this isn’t even everything. The police showed me even worse videos.”
Sgt. Fraidi Kamenetsky said the police plan to file charges against Mouda with a request she be held in custody until the end of the proceedings. During an interrogation, an unnamed assistant was also arrested on suspicion that she witnessed the abuse and may have also resorted to violence.
Meanwhile, protests are planned for Sunday at six locations around the country, including the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem. Parents are demanding changes to childcare oversight laws, including tougher sentences for abusive daycare workers and better regulations for supervision of daycare centers.
Ahaz Agam, chairman of the National Parks Parents’ Committee and one of the protest organizers, told Channel 13 that parents feel the government is wasting time while more cases of abuse by child care workers come to light.
In recent years numerous cases of abuse have been reported including the killing of an 18-month old baby girl by a caretaker.
In June of 2018 the government came under fire for the continued delay of a proposed supervision law as ministries squabbled over funding the project. The law was finally passed in December, but only mandates security cameras in all daycare centers starting in September 2020, as long as 70 percent of the parents do not object.
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(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE RICHMOND REGISTER)
Richmond, Ky. man accused of breaking 3-month-old girl’s bones in 27 places
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Police say a Richmond, Kentucky, man brutally attacked his 3-month-old daughter, breaking her bones in 27 places.
According to an arrest report, EMS was sent to a home on Keri Anne Court in Richmond, Kentucky on May 25, after someone called to report that a 3-month-old girl had sustained head injuries.
The infant was taken to the hospital, where police say physicians discovered that she was suffering from 27 bone fractures, including bones in her skull, ribs, spine, arms, legs, hands and feet. Police say she also had retinal hemorrhaging, bruises on her face, head and stomach, as well as possible internal injuries.
The infant’s father, 24-year-old Sean Dykes, was the only person who was with the girl at the time she was injured.
When officers with the Richmond Police Department confronted Dykes on Thursday, he offered an unusual defense, saying he had been under “a lot of stress” and claiming to have multiple personality disorder. Police say he told them that he went into a rage, grabbing the girl and slamming her on the bed, before blacking out.
He said the next thing he remembers was the girl having a seizure, with cuts and bruises to her head. He added that his right hand hurt.
Police say he admitted that “the only possible explanation” was that he punched the girl in the head, causing her head injuries.
He even used a teddy bear to demonstrate how he physically abused the girl, according to the police report.
“Dykes agreed that all the evidence suggested he was the one responsible for her injuries,” police wrote in the report. “He said he was sorry for abusing her and would apologize to her if he could.”
Police say the mother of the infant — Dykes’ girlfriend — told them that in March, Dykes pushed her to the floor and choked her for several seconds.
Dykes was arrested and charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault and first-degree criminal abuse of a child under 12.
Copyright 2019 by WDRB Media. All rights reserved.
More than 600 members of the United Methodist Church signed on to a letter Monday condemning Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant parents and children at the U.S. border.
In the letter, the group of churchgoers, including clergy and church leadership, accuse Sessions of child abuse, immorality, racial discrimination and dissemination of doctrines contrary to the standards of the doctrine of the United Methodist Church.
They note in the letter that Sessions is a member of Ashland Place United Methodist Church, in Mobile, Ala.
“While other individuals and areas of the federal government are implicated in each of these examples, Mr. Sessions — as a long-term United Methodist in a tremendously powerful, public position — is particularly accountable to us, his church,” the letter reads. “He is ours, and we are his. As his denomination, we have an ethical obligation to speak boldly when one of our members is engaged in causing significant harm in matters contrary to the Discipline on the global stage.”
The letter comes as President Trump and his administration face backlash over its policy to separate migrant families.
Sessions announced the “zero tolerance” policy earlier this year, saying the Department of Justice would criminally prosecute all adults attempting to illegally cross the southern border into the U.S. As a result, families who crossed together would in some cases be separated, he said.
Trump has repeatedly blamed Democrats for the policy, and administration officials have asserted that only Congress can fix the issue by passing immigration reform.
Members of Congress have introduced legislation to end the practice of separating families, while simultaneously urging Trump to unilaterally stop the separations.
Donald Trump’s Views On Race Should Be No Surprise
A child is not guilty of their fathers sins nor is the father guilty of their children’s sins. Yet most of us know from life’s experiences that way to often a child will follow in many, if not all, of their parents ways of living and of their thoughts and flaws. Way to many children who grew up in a family where the parents are present, or even step parents, the children very often tend to emulate their examples. Way to many boys who lived in a home where the Dad physically beat their Mom grow up to beat their wives and girlfriends. Way to many girls grow up to look for a ‘dangerous’ man, like their Dad. Way to many children who are sexually abused as a child grow up to do the same thing to their kids. A lot of kids who grow up in a home with an alcoholic parent become one themselves just as they do if drugs are in the home, they end up being users themselves. When a child grows up in a home where they see that their parent or parents are liars and thieves the child tends to think that same way of life is okay, after all, Dad does it. When you grow up in a home where the parent teaches a child to crave power over other people through any means necessary, many kids do follow the lead they are given. When you are taught to ‘never, ever’ apologize to anyone for any thing, you tend to grow up aloof and cold to other people’s feelings. When you grow up in a home where your Dad was at least at one time a leader in the local (in this case, New York City) KKK, should anyone be surprised that a child would garner a twisted sense of morals and ideas? Donald Trump’s Dad was arrested at least twice in NYC for leading violent KKK marches. So, should it be a shock that our President acts and believes the way that he does?
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