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House asks for documents in Epstein probe from DOJ

Posted at 7:10 PM, Dec 20, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — House Democrats asked for documents from federal prosecutors and Florida law enforcement officials on Friday as part of a probe into how financier Jeffrey Epstein received a secret plea deal more than a decade ago after he was accused of molesting underage girls.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to U.S. 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 Epstein's victims should have been consulted under federal law about the deal.

Epstein reached the deal in 2008 with then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta's office to end the federal probe that could have landed him in prison for life. Epstein instead pleaded guilty to lesser state charges, spent 13 months in jail, paid financial settlements to victims and registered as a sex offender.

Acosta was appointed Labor Secretary by President Donald Trump, but he resigned in July amid renewed scrutiny of the secret plea deal.

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

The House committee 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.

Two spokeswomen for the FDLE, Florida's top law enforcement agency, didn't return emails seeking comment.

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 with visitors, before returning to the jail to sleep. Epstein 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.