All onboard the Lolita Express

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We are all equal in the eyes of law, but all too often rich scumbags have the resources and connections to make themselves less equal than others.

“Miami Herald” has really been doing a lot of fantastic journalistic work lately, firstly regarding the farce of the Florida vote counts, and now with this year-long investigation of the sordid deal that got off (no pun intended) the serial molester of underage girls, billionaire financier and friend of high and mighty, Jeffrey Epstein, with an equivalent of a slap on the wrist:

On a muggy October morning in 2007, Miami’s top federal prosecutor, Alexander Acosta, had a breakfast appointment with a former colleague, Washington, D.C., attorney Jay Lefkowitz.

It was an unusual meeting for the then-38-year-old prosecutor, a rising Republican star who had served in several White House posts before being named U.S. attorney in Miami by President George W. Bush.

Instead of meeting at the prosecutor’s Miami headquarters, the two men — both with professional roots in the prestigious Washington law firm of Kirkland & Ellis — convened at the Marriott in West Palm Beach, about 70 miles away. For Lefkowitz, 44, a U.S. special envoy to North Korea and corporate lawyer, the meeting was critical.

His client, Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, 54, was accused of assembling a large, cult-like network of underage girls — with the help of young female recruiters — to coerce into having sex acts behind the walls of his opulent waterfront mansion as often as three times a day, the Town of Palm Beach police found.

The eccentric hedge fund manager, whose friends included former President Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, was also suspected of trafficking minor girls, often from overseas, for sex parties at his other homes in Manhattan, New Mexico and the Caribbean, FBI and court records show.

Facing a 53-page federal indictment, Epstein could have ended up in federal prison for the rest of his life.

But on the morning of the breakfast meeting, a deal was struck — an extraordinary plea agreement that would conceal the full extent of Epstein’s crimes and the number of people involved.

Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal — called a non-prosecution agreement — essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of thousands of emails, court documents and FBI records.

The pact required Epstein to plead guilty to two prostitution charges in state court. Epstein and four of his accomplices named in the agreement received immunity from all federal criminal charges. But even more unusual, the deal included wording that granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators’’ who were also involved in Epstein’s crimes. These accomplices or participants were not identified in the agreement, leaving it open to interpretation whether it possibly referred to other influential people who were having sex with underage girls at Epstein’s various homes or on his plane.

As part of the arrangement, Acosta agreed, despite a federal law to the contrary, that the deal would be kept from the victims. As a result, the non-prosecution agreement was sealed until after it was approved by the judge, thereby averting any chance that the girls — or anyone else — might show up in court and try to derail it.

This is the story of how Epstein, bolstered by unlimited funds and represented by a powerhouse legal team, was able to manipulate the criminal justice system, and how his accusers, still traumatized by their pasts, believe they were betrayed by the very prosecutors who pledged to protect them.

The powerhouse legal team, including amongst others Alan Dershowitz and Ken Starr. Everyone, including the most repulsive characters, are entitled to a competent legal defence, but it’s cases like this that make me think I would never want to be a defence lawyer, even with the discretion one has to say no to representing people you don’t feel comfortable representing.

The Epstein prosecution involved 50 (that’s 5-0) girls, now in their 20s and 30s, who were 13-16 at the time the crimes were committed. “Miami Herald” identified a further 30 and managed to locate 60 out of the 80.  Massive conspiracy theories have grown around this case over the years, linking Epstein’s exploits with Pizzagate and other stories (and myths) of high-level (and, unlike Epstein, seemingly untouchable) paedophile rings. But his case on its own is bad enough, and unlike trying to link John Podesta with the Madeleine McCann disappearance (to use one of the more bizarre flights of internet imagination), it is comprehensively documented. Including Epstein’s links with prominent people, though without any proof these people partook in his hobby:

Bill Clinton spent enough time aboard disgraced Wall Street mogul Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Lolita Express’ airplane that he should be eligible for frequent flyer miles, according to a shocking new report that reveals how often the former U.S. president road along with with the convicted sex offender.

Flight logs reviewed by Fox News show Clinton took 26 trips aboard Epstein’s Boeing 727 jet, more than double the 11 flights previously known.

Epstein’s jet was reportedly set up with a bed where guests had group sex with young girls.

One of them, Virginia Giuffre, has claimed she was lured into joining Epstein’s harem when she was just 15 years old and was then known as Virginia Roberts.

The former teen prostitute has said she was used as a ‘sex slave.’

At least we know that Kevin Spacey, who figures on one flight manifest next to Bill Clinton, definitely did not indulge in underage heterosexual sex – unless Epstein was truly a host with the most.

Do yourself a favour and read the whole series from “Miami Herald”, particularly if you want to feel really angry about something else than straightforward politics.

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