Law professor comments on Jeffrey Epstein

Western Michigan University Cooley Law School Tampa Bay campus Professor and former Miami-Dade Judge Jeffrey Swartz provided the following statement on July 10  regarding charges filed by federal prosecutors in New York against Jeffrey Epstein. Swartz offers insights regarding the ethics and legality of the plea deal reached nearly a decade ago in similar sex-related charges by Epstein and then-U.S. Attorney in Miami Alexander Acosta, who was serving as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor at the time of this statement:

“The original Epstein plea agreement raised eyebrows and was quietly the topic of conversation in South Florida Criminal Law circles (both state and federal prosecutors and defense attorneys) when it occurred. Many questions were asked and few answers were given.

“Mostly this was a hands-on, top-down, decision by Acosta who was known as a Republican operative before his appointment as US Attorney.  His involvement, at minimum, could be described as ‘unusual.’

“The Department of Justice should abandon Mr. Acosta, as should the President. He should face the consequences of his acts before the public and ultimately, if warranted, the Florida Bar.

“You cannot convict someone based upon reputation, but certainly one can be suspect as a result of the type of reputation Mr. Epstein had and still has.  If his actions are as the SDNY (and the Miami Herald) has alleged, then it is abhorrent and deserving of the sanctions he faces. The victims in this case have a right to be heard and not shamed for what happened to them.  They should have the right to face all of their abusers (if more than Mr. Epstein), no matter whomever they may be.”

On July 15, Alexander Acosta did indeed step down as Secretary of Labor.