nydailynews.com | NOV 13, 2020
Nearly a year of emails in Alex Acosta’s email inbox while he oversaw the case against Jeffrey Epstein are missing, the Justice Department has revealed to victims’ lawyers during a meeting Thursday.
Federal officials attributed the gap from May 26, 2007 to April 2, 2008 to a “technical glitch” that wasn’t limited to the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, two sources familiar with the Justice Department review of Epstein’s sweetheart deal told the Daily News.
The review made public Thursday found that Acosta exercised “poor judgment” but committed no misconduct when he allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state prostitution charges rather than face a federal case. The serial pervert served 13 months in Palm Beach County jail despite evidence he ran an underage sex trafficking scheme.
Epstein hanged himself last year in a Manhattan federal jail after being slapped with new sex trafficking charges.
Investigators with the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility said they were able to reconstruct much of Acosta’s inbox by examining his sent folder, as well as other staffers’ emails.
But many questions remained.
The email gap came during a critical period in the Florida Epstein case when the sex offender’s powerhouse legal team aggressively negotiated with Acosta and his prosecutors. Epstein’s non-prosecution agreement with Acosta’s office, which covered named and unnamed co-conspirators, was executed in September 2007 — an unprecedented deal in Justice Department history, officials said during the meeting, according to attendees.
In October 2007, Acosta had an unusual “breakfast meeting” at a Miami hotel with Epstein’s lawyer Jay Lefkowitz.
The gap was also just revealed Thursday — despite more than 10 years of litigation over prosecutors’ handling of the case.
“Yesterday we were told that OPR was unable to recover months of emails from Alex Acosta, who was the U.S. Attorney and the person ultimately in charge of this deal. That raises numerous questions about what the defense attorneys were telling Mr. Acosta and why he continually exercised influence to give a sweeter and sweeter deal for Epstein,” said Epstein victims’ attorney Paul Cassell. “We intend to purse this issue through all possible venues to determine why these emails were missing and why were never told about it until yesterday.”
The email gap is further fodder for conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein, a multimillionaire who palled around with the rich and powerful while surrounding himself with underage girls.
“I am a firm believer that there are no coincidences,” Epstein victims’ lawyer Jack Scarola said.
“There are a lot of strange things that went on with regards to this case — a lot of questions that remain unanswered and not yet adequately investigated.”