April 14 (UPI) — A federal appeals court has ruled that federal prosecutors had not broken the law when they made a 2007 agreement with Jeffery Epstein that shielded him from being prosecuted in federal court on charges related to the sexual abuse of minors.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 on Tuesday to uphold the non-prosecution agreement that shielded the disgraced New York financier and his accomplices from being indicted on federal sex trafficking charges while chastising the prosecutors who dealt with the case in a 120-page opinion.
“It’s not a result we like, but it’s the result we think the law requires,” Judge Kevin Newsom wrote in the opinion that was joined by Judge Gerald Tjoflat.
Courtney Wild, who has accused Epstein of abusing her with she was 14, had filed the petition claiming the federal prosecutors violated her rights under the Crime Victims’ Right Act when they fashioned the deal with Epstein behind her and the backs of his other victims.
According to the court document, the 2007 deal had Epstein plead guilty in a Florida court to two state prostitution offenses and in exchange he and any of his co-conspirators would receive immunity from federal prosecution. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state crimes and was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and 12 months’ home confinement.
“Despite our sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein’s hands, only to be left in the dark — and, so it seems, affirmatively misled — by government lawyers, we find ourselves constrained to deny her petition,” the opinion states.
However, the majority judges described the case as “beyond scandalous” and “a tale of national disgrace.”
Wild said in a statement Tuesday that the court’s decision was “impossible to understand.”
“The government intentionally misled the victims but found a way to get away with it by working with a child molester to get around the law,” she said. “The judges ruled in their favor. How?”
Judge Frank Hull, the sole dissenting voice, disagreed with the majority’s understanding of the CVRA, stating their “contorted statutory interpretation” is a revision that “guts victims’ rights.”
“Nothing, and I mean nothing, in the CVRA’s plain text requires the majority’s result,” she wrote in her scathing dissent.
Epstein was found dead of suspected suicide in August in his Manhattan Correctional Center cell where he was being held without hail on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking of girls as young as 14 in the early 2000s.