MENU

Reason.com

Free Minds & Free Markets

VOLOKH CONSPIRACY

Mostly law professors, blogging on whatever we please since 2002 · Hosted by The Washington Post, 2014-2017 · Hosted by Reason 2017 · Sometimes contrarian · Often libertarian · Always independent

The Current Posture of the Crime Victims Rights Challenge to Jeffrey Epstein's Plea Deal

In a case I'm working on, Jeffrey Epstein's victims hope to set aside a non-prosecution agreement based on violations of their rights under the Crime Victims' Rights Act.

Recently the case of Jeffrey Epstein has been in the news, sparked by an impressive set of articles by the Miami Herald. In 2007, Epstein was accused of sexually molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida. In 2008, he reached a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida, blocking prosecution of him for any federal sex offenses that he may have committed in exchange for his guilty plea to two low-level Florida crimes. Epstein ultimately spent about 13 months in jail, much of it on work release.

Meanwhile, in July 2008, Florida crime victims' attorney Brad Edwards and I challenged the NPA for two victims, arguing it was reached in violation of the Crime Victims Rights Act (CVRA). Because the matter continues to be litigated, I do not want to comment on the merits of the case. But the case has drawn considerable attention. For example, the case has already set an important precedent that victims' rights under the CVRA apply before charges are filed, as explained in this law review article. And as an example of more recent interest, yesterday Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to investigate its treatment of Jeffrey Epstein's victims. In light of this renewed interest in the case, a short blog post simply describing the legal posture of the crime victims' CVRA claims might be useful.

In July 2008, Edwards and I filed the lawsuit on behalf of two women whom the Justice Department has identified as having been sexually assasulted by Epstein when they were underage -- Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2. The victims contend that the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida executed the NPA while concealing what it was doing from Epstein's victims. The lawsuit has been through a number of twists and turns during the more than a decade it has been pending. But relevant to the current posture is that the victims' motion for summary judgment is pending. In that motion, the victims argue that the court should grant summary judgment on the issue of whether the U.S. Attorney's Office violated their rights under the CVRA by concealing the NPA from the victims. Here are some excerpts from the introduction to our 55-page motion:

In 2004, Congress enacted the CVRA because it found that in case after case "victims, and their families, were ignored, cast aside, and treated as non-participants in a critical event in their lives. They were kept in the dark by prosecutors too busy to care enough . . . and by a court system that simply did not have place for them." 150 CONG. REC. 7296 (2004) (statement ofSen. Feinstein). In passing the CVRA, Congress mandated a series of rights for crime victims. Sadly, several years later, when the Government began handling this case, it did precisely what Congress thought it had forbidden. The Government deliberately kept crime victims "in the dark" so that it could enter into a plea arrangement designed to prevent the victims from raising any objection. In doing so, the Government refused to afford victims the rights they had been promised by Congress—particularly "the right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding," "the reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case," and "the right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy."

The undisputed evidence begins in 2005, when the Palm Beach Police Department ("PBPD") had identified numerous girls as victims of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual crimes. In 2006, the PBPD turned the case over to federal authorities for further investigation. As early as March 15, 2007 and throughout the rest of the investigation, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida specifically identified several dozen girls whom it classified as "victims" under the CVRA. Once that identification was made, the Government was obligated to afford these victims certain rights under the CVRA—a fact of which the Government itself was well aware. Indeed, the Government provided notification to the girls that they were classified as "victims" under the CVRA.

But what the Government did not tell the victims lies at the heart of the case. It is undisputed that the Government did not tell the victims that, by May 2007, the Office hadprepared an 82-page prosecution memorandum and a 53-page indictment against Epstein and his co-conspirators. At that time, rather than confer with the victims about how to proceed, the Government began conferring about this issue exclusively with Epstein's counsel. Epstein's counsel contended that, despite abundant connection to interstate commerce, Epstein's sex trafficking was purely of local concern. By August 2007, federal prosecutors had disproven or rejected these defense arguments and notified the defense that all of the identified victims retained federal rights.

For example, during August 2007, Jane Doe 1, and other similarly situated victims, provided details to federal agents of the abuse that they endured at the hands of Epstein and his co-conspirators. In September 2007, without conferring with any of the victims, the Government and Epstein shifted gears and began working together to concoct a criminal charge for Epstein to plea to other than his sexual abuse of minors. As alternative charges, they discussed charging Epstein with: (1) various misdemeanors, (2) assaulting his co-conspirators and girlfriend, (3) using private investigators to chase and harass victims' families, (4) obstructions of grand jury subpoenas, or (5) his obstruction of the federal investigation when he instructed another coconspirator to lie to federal agents. Ultimately, however, none of those would work. Assistant U.S. Attorney ("AUSA") Marie Villafaña (the "line prosecutor") informed Epstein's counsel that she was getting pushback for creating a charge using one of the main co-conspirators as thevictim.6 Consequently, the Government and Epstein searched for another crime for Epstein to plead to, which could accompany a federal non-prosecution agreement (NPA). Incredibly, the offense to which Epstein and the Government ultimately agreed, labeled the minor victims "prostitutes."

The undisputed evidence clearly shows that by September 21, 2007, the line prosecutor had informed Palm Beach State Attorney Barry Krischer that a federal resolution had been reached by way of a NPA, yet the victims remained uninformed. On September 24, 2007, the NPA was signed, preventing prosecution of all federal crimes committed by Epstein and his coconspirators against the victims. After the signing of the NPA, the Government and Epstein's attorneys worked together to choose a lawyer to be paid by Epstein to represent Epstein's victims for the purpose of settling civil restitution claims. This too was all being done without the victims having any knowledge whatsoever. The correspondence between the Government and a candidate for that representative position as well as between the Government and Epstein's counsel reflects that the Government still had not yet disclosed the NPA to the victims, and was following the guidance of Epstein's counsel in making decisions with respect to the timing and substance of any communication to the victims.

For the next nine months, from the time the NPA was signed through the date of Epstein's state court plea in June of 2008, the Office—doing Epstein's bidding—assiduously concealed the NPA's existence from the victims. While this indulgent deal was incredible in its own right, even more extraordinary was how the victims were treated during the process. Ratherthan confer with the victims about the fact that resolution by NPA was ever being considered—or even tell them that it was already a signed deal—the Office and Epstein inserted a "confidentiality" provision into the agreement barring its disclosure to anyone, including the victims. There is no dispute that the Government did not inform the victims of the NPA or of the possibility of any such type of resolution. Consequently, there is no dispute that the Government did not afford the victims any rights before the signing of the NPA. . . .

In October 2007, after the NPA was signed, federal agents spoke with three of the more than 30 identified victims, including Jane Doe 1. The Government does not dispute that this contact only occurred after the signing of the NPA. Even more important, it is not disputed that this contact was: (1) made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and not a "prosecutor for the Government," (2) that the FBI did not inform the victims of the NPA and certainly did not confer with the victims about the details of the NPA, and (3) that this contact only occurred with three of the more than 30 victims. Lastly, while the content of that conversation is contested, any stretched argument that the conversation satisfied CVRA requirements for Jane Doe 1 are belied by the timing of the conversation as well as the uncontested documentary evidence of the communications with the victims (including with Jane Doe 1) that followed that conversation.

Subsequent to the FBI's contact with three of Epstein's victims, the Government informed Epstein's attorneys that victim notification letters needed to be sent to all the victims pursuant to the CVRA. Rather than comply with this acknowledged requirement, Epstein's counsel convinced the Government that (contrary to standard Government practice) Epstein should be permitted to provide input into any message being delivered, and ultimately that the victims should not be told anything "until after Epstein pleas."

In January 2008, FBI agents again met with Jane Doe 1 and gathered additional details about Epstein's abuse as well as the direct sexual abuse by one of his co-conspirators, Nadia Marcinkova—who participated in the abuse of other victims as well. The Government then sent a victim notification letter to Jane Doe 1 informing her of her rights under the CVRA, that "this will be a long investigation," and to "be patient." Jane Doe 1 was sent a similar letter on June 7, 2008. Other victims were also sent these letters communicating that the Epstein case was an on-going active criminal investigation—not that the Government had already immunized Epstein for all federal crimes committed against each of the victims, through a NPA. These misleading letters were sent almost up until the date of Epstein's state court plea in late June 2008.

On June 30, 2008, Epstein pled guilty to state court charges. It is uncontested that the victims were not reasonably and accurately informed about that hearing—specifically, they were never told the hearing was part of a process that would extinguish any possibility of Epstein being prosecuted for the crimes he had committed against them in Florida. Even after the plea, the Government once again conferred with Epstein's attorneys to decide what to tell the victims.

As the Court is aware, this CVRA action was filed in July 2008 at a time when the victims mistakenly believed that the federal case remained open, and wanted to ensure that their rights under the CVRA were afforded before any possible federal disposition. At the emergency hearing on the Petition for Enforcement of Crime Victims' Rights Act, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe were in the courtroom to learn for the first time that the federal case had been resolved.

The undisputed facts show that for nine months, the Government and Epstein conspired to conceal the NPA from the victims to prevent them from voicing any objection, and to avoid the firestorm of controversy that would have arisen if it had become known that the Government was immunizing a politically-connected billionaire and all of his co-conspirators from prosecution of hundreds of federal sex crimes against minor girls. Such facts demonstrate clear violations of the CVRA's requirements that the Government afford victims the reasonable right to confer, the right to be treated with fairness, and the right to reasonable and accurate notice about court hearings. No genuine issue of material fact or law can exist on these points. The Court should accordingly grant summary judgment for the victims on the issue of the CVRA violations and then, in subsequent proceedings, turn to the issue of the proper remedy for those violations.

We filed the motion for summary judgment for Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 on February 10, 2016. The Government responded on June 6, 2017. Essentially the Government argued that it had no legal obligation to keep the victims' informed about what was happening. We replied in this reply brief on August 11, 2017. The government has also filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, which essentially reprises its arguments in our response to our motion.

Because the matter is pending before the Court, I won't add anything to what we have said in our pleadings. Obviously Edwards and I (recently joined by Florida attorney Jack Scarola) hope that the district court will grant our summary judgment motion, holding that this treatment of crime victims violates federal law.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Eddy||

    One of the (very few) ways in which England is freer than America is that private people can file criminal prosecutions. The public prosecutor can take over, or even have the charges dismissed, but this must be done openly, and of course the private prosecutor would be aware of what was going on.

    English opponents of the system say private prosecution is unfair to teh poors, but it seems that a system of public prosecution only isn't very fair to the poor either.

  • bernard11||

    How far does this go in England?

    Can the private prosecutor agree to a plea deal with the accused (assuming the public prosecutor doesn't step in)?

    Looks like there would be a lot of possibilities for abuse, not that there aren't plenty of those in how we do things here.

  • Eddy||

    I haven't studied it in depth, and since public prosecutors can use their power to extort (whether money or plea deals) I suppose there's the possibility of extortion by private prosecutors as well (and private civil plaintiffs too).

    Here's a Daily Mail story about someone who was illegally harassed by the cops didn't take it seriously, so the person filed a private prosecution and at least got the criminal a day in the slammer.

    https://dailym.ai/2QCPXTP

    (The one day should be considered in the context of remarkably light sentences in England, at least by American standards)

  • Eddy||

    not by the cops, *but* the cops didn't take it seriously.

  • Eddy||

    Here's a bigger example

    "A former car dealer has been jailed for eight years for a multi-million pound investment fraud - even though the Crown Prosecution Service had refused to charge him, BBC News has learned.

    "Paul Sultana was convicted after the company he had defrauded brought a private prosecution - criminal proceedings which are not initiated by the state.

    "It's thought to be the largest fraud in Britain to be successfully prosecuted privately.

    "The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it would seek to "learn lessons" from the case."

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The problem in the Epstein case is that he wasn't alone in his crimes. He was also providing opportunities to many 'important' people to commit the same sorts of crimes. This makes his crimes something a lot of powerful people would rather stay buried.

    It's hard to see how he can be prosecuted without going after people like Bill Clinton, who took many trips on the "Lolita express".

  • santamonica811||

    Oh thank God . . . I would have been disappointed if there had not been at least one effort to "but don't forget Hillary/Bill Clinton" it up.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    If only there were some way Bill could prevent this sort of thing...

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I never said Hillary flew on it. Are we still, at this late date, not permitted to notice that Bill is a perv with unusually powerful friends/co-conspirators? Does the truth become off limits if a Clinton happens to figure in it?

    Clinton, Dershowitz, Larry Summers, Donald Trump... Is it really surprising the government has very little interest in nailing Epstein to the wall? He could bring down a lot of people if suitably motivated.

  • Noscitur a sociis||

    It's certainly a way in which English is different from America. Regardless of its wisdom from a public policy perspective, I'm skeptical that this difference is best characterized as more free.

  • Eddy||

    What would you call a government where the harassment victim in one of my stories would have had to rely on his political connections for the police to take them seriously? Or a government where the fraud victim in my other story would have to rely on the willingness of an overwhelmed public prosecutor's office t take on a complex case?

    Free or unfree?

  • David Friedman||

    I don't know much about the current situation, but at least as late as the 18th century English law included the Appeal of Felony, a private suit which could lead to criminal punishment, I think including execution. I am pretty sure that at that point there was no mechanism by which the crown could take over the suit. As Blackstone explained (at a point when the action existed in the law but had become very difficult to employ in practice), if someone was convicted under an appeal of felony the crown could not pardon him, since the crown was not a party to the suit.

    There was a case, part of the long conflict between John Wilkes and the royal government, in which two men were convicted of murder, pardoned, apparently because their sister was sleeping with several influential men, and the murderers were then prosecuted via an appeal of felony, although unsuccessfully.

  • UVaGrad||

    Your MSJ has been pending without a hearing for over a year?

  • Paul Cassell||

    Yes, we filed for summary judgment in February 2016. Court-ordered mediation followed, which did not resolve the claim. Then the government responded and we replied. We filed our reply n August of 2017, and I believe the last government pleading (on the cross-reply on its summary judgment motion) came in October 2017.

  • renreok||

    The feds estoppel arguments are pretty strong. A plaintiff shouldn't be able to use an NPA to force a defendent to admit guilt to win a civil judgement, and then turn around and claim the NPA is invalid.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Except, that's not what happened. There are two issues here.

    One: It wasn't the plaintiffs using the NPA, it was Epstein: "After the signing of the NPA, the Government and Epstein's attorneys worked together to choose a lawyer to be paid by Epstein to represent Epstein's victims for the purpose of settling civil restitution claims."

    Two, the NPA was illegally obtained by Epstein.

    Basically what you've got here is a defendant who entered into a criminal conspiracy with a US prosecutor to foreclose both criminal and civil liability by means of an illegally obtained NPA and allowing the defendant to conduct a sham civil trial where he controlled both ends of the litigation.

  • apedad||

    Seems like you're pointing the finger at Epstein.

    As a defendant, he can/should use any legal means available to help his case (e.g request reduction of charges, NPA, etc.).

    It was the govt that processed and granted the NPA and, according to the CVRA, it is the govt that is supposed to make notifications to victims at certain times.

    The only question is whether the govt make the appropriate notifications at the appropriate times, and it really comes down to the text of the CVRA.

    In the linked govt response, the govt makes the case that they followed the wording of the CVRA (using lawyer logic not layman logic).

  • David Nieporent||

    The only question is whether the govt make the appropriate notifications at the appropriate times, and it really comes down to the text of the CVRA.

    And the fact that Cassell's opposition brief focuses primarily on isolated bits of legislative history rather than said text is rather telling.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yes I'm pointing the finger at Epstein; The legal violations were committed by the government, to benefit Epstein. And this was done in cooperation with Epstein.

    I think the key line here is this: "After the signing of the NPA, the Government and Epstein's attorneys worked together to choose a lawyer to be paid by Epstein to represent Epstein's victims for the purpose of settling civil restitution claims. This too was all being done without the victims having any knowledge whatsoever. "

    The government and Epstein were working together to screw over the victims. The civil proceeding Reneok is relying on to claim estoppel was a sham proceeding, the plaintiffs weren't in control of their side of the litigation, the defendant was.

  • apedad||

    Simple question: Did Epstein do anything illegal (meaning in the NPA, not the original cases)?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    If he was conspiring with the US prosecutor, and the prosecutor did things that were illegal, Epstein is implicated.

    That the government and Epstein's attorneys got together to chose the plaintiffs' lawyer for them, without informing the plaintiffs about the arrangement, sure looks to me like conspiracy.

    But I suppose it's theoretically possible that the US prosecutor's office just spontaneously decided to let Epstein's counsel run both sides of the civil litigation, without any actual involvement by Epstein in the decision.

  • DjDiverDan||

    There are several things about this whole mess that really bother me, but a couple just jump out at me from the perspective of legal ethics.

    Allowing Epstein's attorneys to participate in the selection of a lawyer to "represent Epstein's victims" while at the same time not even allowing the victims to participate in this selection strikes me as shockingly unethical. Worse, allowing that lawyer to settle civil restitution claims of the victims without their consent and knowledge strikes me as a legal nullity. If the victims are going to be legally bound by any of those settlements, they at a minimum ought to have a very good claim for breach of fiduciary duty against the Epstein-selected "victims' counsel", a claim that should result in him disgorging 100% of all fees earned AND holding him liable for any shortfall in what the victims might have received in a civil restitution case that wasn't so completely tainted by conflict of interest.

  • David Nieporent||

    Two, the NPA was illegally obtained by Epstein.

    What language is this English in?

  • renreok||

    Read the Feds brief. The plaintiffs here filed a civil suit against epstein based on this conduct, and they specifically relied upon the part of the NPA that forbid epstein from challenging liability to get a verdict. So they used it to get guaranteed cash, and now they want to say it was never valid.

    The Feds also point out that these plaintiffs appear to have postponed their NPA challenge long enough to secure their civil payout, such that a victory in challenging the NPA would not jeopardize their civil suit.

    That seems like a classic situation where estoppel should apply.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I return to the point made above: The plaintiffs didn't chose their attorney, he was chosen and paid by the defendant, by arrangement with the US prosecutor. The defendant was running both sides of the civil litigation!

    So you have to stop saying, "The plaintiffs did this, the plaintiffs did that." The plaintiffs weren't in control of the litigation, Epstein was.

    It was a sham civil trial, with the government in on the scam. Estoppel should not apply.

  • renreok||

    They took the settlement money. Whoever chose the initial attorney and the litigation stategy, these plaintiffs ratified the lawsuit when they took the cash. At least, i have never heard anyone allege that the underlying civil judgement is not valid.

  • Eddy||

    Maybe that's a good legal point. But it would mean the prosecutors are shielded from responsibility for their own wrongdoing. Hopefully there's *another* legal principle available to prevent that.

    Just because the victims accepted some compensation - and financially, they may not be as rich as Epstein and may not be willing to turn down compensation money (to which they're in fact entitled) just to prove a point about estoppel.

  • Eddy||

    If the legal point is valid under current law, perhaps Congress could step in and specify that a perpetrator can't buy off the victim with compensation money (or in any other way) to get them to surrender their rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act.

  • nonzenze||

    Just for arguments' sake, do you think a challenge to the NPA from a victim under the CVRA that had not filed a civil suit would have merit?

  • David Nieporent||

    I've reviewed some of the pleadings, but I don't really understand what relief the plaintiffs are seeking at this point. What would a "challenge to the NPA" even consist of? They can't force a prosecution.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Perhaps the assumption is that, with the NPA overturned, there might now be the will to proceed with a prosecution, where there wasn't formerly?

  • nonzenze||

    No, but they can pressure the USA in Miami to prosecute. And there is no SOL on sex crimes involving a minor.

  • David Nieporent||

    One: It wasn't the plaintiffs using the NPA, it was Epstein: "After the signing of the NPA, the Government and Epstein's attorneys worked together to choose a lawyer to be paid by Epstein to represent Epstein's victims for the purpose of settling civil restitution claims."

    This is Cassell's spin, not "what happened." And you are incorrect; the plaintiffs relied on the NPA to obtain money.

    Two, the NPA was illegally obtained by Epstein.

    Unless he bribed or threatened someone, no.

    he controlled both ends of the litigation.

    There weren't "both ends" of anything; he wasn't contesting anything. And he didn't control anything on the other end.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    AGAIN, the plaintiffs' attorney was chosen and paid for by the defendant. You can't reasonably attribute any of his decisions in court to the plaintiffs.

    He didn't have to contest anything, because the 'plaintiffs'' attorney was working for him.

  • David Nieporent||

    AGAIN, no, that's fiction.

    Also, attorneys have to deal with third party payers all the time; our duty is to our client, regardless of who's paying the bills.

  • Michael Cook||

    I admit to the intent to join a criminal conspiracy. At a local GOP meeting we discussed vote mining and curing ballots. The phenomenon is that at the very last hour in our vote-by-mail-only state the post office gets deluged with tons of ballots.

    One reason for this is that the parties can track eligible voters in real time A party worker may print out a ballot and vote for a laggard himself, then stuff the ballot in an envelope and rush it to the P. O.

    The key to this is that since motor voter the franchise is tied to an address far more than to any firm notion of qualified citizenship or even status as a living human. A federal judge in our state's most disputed election ruled that our voters are on the honor system. Worse yet, al judge decreed that the requirement of a legible signature on the outside of the mailing envelope is a hindrance to democracy.

    What D's have invented and perfected is the practice of curing ballots. A good worker can do 20 or 30 an hour. Of course, it will take a big crew to swing an election.

    R's have no choice. We can't change the way the game is played. We'd be fools to keep losing close elections when boxes of ballots come flooding in after the election.

    Of course, the very real possibility exists that voters at some addresses will be found to have voted twice. No way to tell which ballot is the legit one, or neither is. Chances are the voter moved away and voted somewhere else or died as D;s have resisted updating registration.

  • apedad||

    Wow, that's some Grade A democrats-are-the-boogeyman thinking!

    See this for real world news from the Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda (Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, aka Fox News), concerning Republican election activities (spaces added):

    https://www.foxnews.com/ politics/north-carolina-gop-signals-possible -support-for-new-house-election-amid- reports-of-illegal-ballot- harvesting-fraud

  • Brett Bellmore||

    You are aware that "ballot harvesting" is illegal in most places, right? And, why is it illegal? Because it provides a wide open door for absentee ballot fraud. A third party, quite likely with an interest in the outcome of the election, gets to handle the ballots without being observed.

    In N.C. the Democrats are bitterly complaining of ballot harvesting, because it may have involved such fraud. In California, they made it legal.

    I understand that Democrats assume that Democrats never do anything wrong, and so ballot harvesting is not viewed as a problem by Democrats where Democrats benefit from it.

    Nobody else is obligated to pretend the purpose isn't to commit absentee ballot fraud.

  • Michael Cook||

    Just sayin', Democrat resistance to purging voter registration lists is for a reason. The reason it is so difficult to prove voter fraud is that Democrats for decades have gone out of their way to eliminate every safeguard that pre-emptively prevented voter fraud, leaving the only recourse to be on an individual, instance-by-instance basis long after the fact to prove lawbreaking.

    This, of course, is too ruinously expensive to change election results, and what would that involve, years after a declared winner has been governing?

    The odd non-citizen who has voted, or felon who has not fulfilled conditions of their sentencing and voted, will be caught at random, but increasingly popping up will be people who aren't in the habit of voting at all and discover that somehow they are perfect voters! Dems will deny, deny, deny knowing anything about it.

    The mainstream (legacy) media, which employs no journalists anymore, only full time Dem partisans, will cover, cover, stonewall, and alibi for the Democrats.

    A crime isn't a crime when nothing can be proved, after all. A problem isn't a problem either.

    Republicans have to play the game by the actual table rules or die.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    They can't play by the same rules, because the Democrats DO own most of the media, so if Republicans cheat, it gets reported.

    What they need to do is get super serious about using the tools they do have to go after fraud, instead of backing down. It's going to be a firestorm of bad press, but they have to just tough it out, and sic the DOJ on California's election practices.

  • bernard11||

    I see, Michael.

    When Republicans break the law it is only because the Democrats forced them to.

    And you accuse people of believing that Democrats never do anything wrong.

    Amazing.

  • bernard11||

    The reason it is so difficult to prove voter fraud is that Democrats for decades .....

    Ah. The very absence of evidence of fraud is itself evidence of the success of the conspiracy to commit it.

  • Michael Cook||

    Well, it doesn't take any real evidence to get a FISA warrant and spy on a president-elect, not to mention unleash a scorched-earth witch hunt on all his associates, now does it.

    Let's face it. We are in a zero-trust society with high stakes penalties and lives being smashed and fortunes ruined, not too unlike the situation1776-83 or 1861-through Reconstruction. You want the FOOLISH hypocrisy of one side pretending to play by rules, watch the movie GANGS OF NEW YORK.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    We could play by the rules and win, we just have to stop pretending "Don't do anything the media are outraged by." is one of the rules.

  • apedad||

    It must suck to be you guys waking up everyday and only seeing dark, ominous shadows everywhere.

    It must really suck to be you guys watching the liberal, progressive line of history continue onward.

    I feel for ya so go ahead and buy a couple thousand more rounds of ammo.

    Maybe that'll make you feel better.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It would probably suck more to be me, if I didn't care a lot more about my private life, which is just peachy, than I do about politics.

  • ReaderY||

    Professor Cassell is of course a zealous advocate for his clients. But his clients received hundreds dollars for each visit, the ones described were at least 16 (adult for purposes of both sex and being charged in many states), there doesn't seem to be evidence he used force, and it's at least plausible that the masseuses knew what they were getting into.

    This is not to say that Epstein didn't deserve a stricter sentence. And regarding his behavior as completely equivalent to forcible rape, and the masseuses as completely innocent rape victims, is certainly an understandable position for counsel for the masseuses to take.

    But it is not so clear that a neutral observer would necessarily take that position. It could be argued that there is more gray here than Professor Cassell is able, in his position as the masseuses' advocate, to acknowledge.

  • mad_kalak||

    Would you take that cavalier approach if the female youths of 16 were treated as such by a Muslim grooming gang?

    And yea, these girls knew what they were getting into, they just didn't think it would have any long term consequences.

  • billatcrea||

    Good God, some of these girls were as young as 13 or 14. This qualifies as child trafficking. In my community if you are some average shmuck, or even an ex school superintendent, and you are proved to have solicited or attempted to solicit sex with a 13 or 14-year-old you are going to go away to prison for a long time.

  • Michael Cook||

    The position I am going to stick with is that there was never an iota of just cause to set a fire-breathing hyper partisan special prosecutor team on President-elect Trump and his associates, and furthermore that IF such a hyper partisan select team of witch hunters using the exact same legal toolbox as Mueller and sidekick Andrew Weissman had been unleashed on Crooked Hillary and all her email and foundation fundraiser co-conspirators beginning in 2016 the number of process crimes and interactions with Russian entities found would have been higher.

    Of course, that is the might-have-been game which ignores deep cosmopolitan Establishment and globalist prejudices so engrained in the Swamp that whining about it is pointless, futile, and only makes us simple folks crazier when contemplating ethereal notions like "rule of law."

  • apedad||

    Hear hear!

    Somebody has to speak up for the ignant, toothless Tennessippians!

    They are sooooooooooooooo cute.

  • Michael Cook||

    I think it was Lenin who said that revolutionaries do not so much succeed through brilliant arguments and the tactics of guerilla warfare as it is true that old regimes even with all their existing advantages of finance, armies, police and the courts and such, simply cease to be able to deal effectively with the challenges of the times.

    Even in this thread I have read the opinion that it is the conservative, nationalist, or Trumpian type of thinking that is running "against the progressive tide of history" and therefore doomed.

    Oh? Are you sure that is history's inevitable course at this point? I wonder. . .

    At any rate, the Mueller investigation show-down is here and a lot of information will be coming out. Democrats have every advantage in spinning this story, but somehow in the end I think legal arguments driven by hatred stretch over so many vast chasms of plausibility that ultimately they stretch too thin and fall into them.

  • David Friedman||

    As a non-lawyer, the question that occurs to me is what teeth the victim's rights act has. Suppose a court concludes that the arguments made here are entirely correct, that the federal authorities violated the victim's rights act. Aside from any effect on the NPA, are there any legal consequences for the prosecutor, the FBI, et. al.? Are they, or the state of Florida, or the federal government, liable for damages?

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online