It isn't every day I agree with FOX News. Steve Hilton on Monday called for U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to resign because Acosta, in 2007 as Miami's top federal prosecutor, gave a sweetheart deal to a creepy sex offender: defendant Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire pedophile, who preyed on more than 36 girls in Florida so young they could not give legal consent to sex.
Epstein's punishment for a state court guilty plea was 13 months in a county jail work-release program, softened by friend-of-a-friend interventions involving Acosta. That plea preempted a nationwide federal investigation. Federal charges were foregone, and victim's rights were sidestepped, which led to a pending Florida federal suit. These girls were often from disadvantaged homes, lived in poverty, had troubled lives, sometimes didn't even speak English, and were vulnerable.
Federal prosecutors exercise a latitude of discretion. We'd probably never hear anything about this if it were not for the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state the autonomy to regulate crimes and punishments within its jurisdiction. The state of New York now charges Epstein with sex trafficking, and there is no Alex Acosta to go easy on this man who is so brazen and unreformed that after becoming a registered sex offender, he continued to possess semi-nude and nude pictures of underaged girls.
This is apparently a whole new 'nother, other later crime, and Epstein is now being prosecuted for that and more of his jet-setter lifestyle involving these young ones as to offenses committed - this time in New York. New York calls it sex trafficking - recruiting minor girls to give massages and then sexual acts, as well as paying these girls to recruit fresh new bodies for Epstein's exploitation. The dynamic tension between federalism and states' rights, in this instance, gives a recourse to justice for these young victims whose lives and self-esteem have been shattered.
The strange case of the unrepentant billionaire is complicated by his connections to the renown on both sides of the aisles. Bill Clinton says he took four trips courtesy of Epstein for work of the Clinton Foundation, but hasn't spoken to him in a decade, and knew nothing of the abhorrent crimes. Donald Trump in 2002 told New York Magazine this of Epstein, "He's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side."
That old comment raises a question: Why are the New York crimes being investigated by the state's Public Corruption division, which typically does not deal with human trafficking cases? Watch for developments, as one could wildly speculate Epstein offered these girls to a formidable cadre of political allies who'd be loathe to see themselves or their fellows implicated. Good Ol' Boy Network, indeed! Epstein and Trump shared travels and meals, and a plaintiff in 2016 sued Trump, alleging she was raped at age 13 by Trump at Epstein's Manhattan townhouse. Bloomberg News speculates that as the case develops, Epstein could flip on Trump to minimize the long prison sentence.
A Foreign Policy Magazine op ed suggests this administration's corruption scandals are a foreign policy threat: Acosta, like Scott Pruitt and Ryan Zinke, should resign. The American people wish for leaders who put objective best interests of the nation over personal secrets and quid-pro-quos. Who in Trump's circle even vets these swampy characters? Secretary Acosta's Labor Department is the government's wing to aid the estimated four million children internationally who are trapped in human trafficking. Instead of an advocate for the victims, Trump's Acosta is an enabler.
Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.