A Justice Department investigation found that federal prosecutors who oversaw a controversial non-prosecution deal with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 exercised “poor judgment” but did not break the law, Sen. Ben Sasse said Thursday.
The announcement followed an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility into the conduct of former federal government lawyers, including ex-Labor Secretary Alex Acosta.
“Letting a well-connected billionaire get away with child rape and international sex trafficking isn’t ‘poor judgment’ – it is a disgusting failure,” said Sasse, R-Neb. “Americans ought to be enraged.”
The Justice Department has yet to release its own statement on the investigation’s findings. A spokesperson for the FBI, which investigated the case, declined comment.
Prosecutors looked into allegations that Epstein abused dozens of teenage girls in his West Palm Beach mansion in the early 2000s. He eventually pleaded guilty to state charges involving a single victim in a deal that ended the federal sex crimes investigation and spared Epstein the prospect of serving several years in prison.
Acosta was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the time. He resigned as President Trump’s labor secretary last year amid renewed scrutiny of the case.
Epstein ultimately served 13 months in jail and was allowed to leave almost every day through a work release program. The politically-connected financier died by suicide inside a federal prison last year while awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges.
Early Thursday, Justice Department officials briefed several Epstein victims on the investigation’s findings in a meeting in Miami, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.
Two other federal investigations connected to Epstein remain ongoing.
New York federal prosecutors are still probing Epstein’s sex trafficking network. His longtime confidant, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been charged with recruiting and grooming girls as young as 14 for Epstein to abuse.
The Justice Department’s inspector general is investigating the circumstances of Epstein’s death inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.