President Trump nominated as labor secretary this month a former federal prosecutor suspected of covering up multiple scandals, including the alleged rape of underage girls in 1994 by billionaire pervert Jeffrey Epstein and Trump, who was Epstein’s friend and neighbor.
Trump picked former Bush administration prosecutor R. Alexander Acosta Feb. 16 to lead the Labor Department despite his multiple legal controversies involving sex predators, corrupt bankers and billionaire tax cheats. Their crimes largely escaped prosecution from Acosta and his law enforcement colleagues.
Most dramatic was Acosta’s confidential plea agreement in 2008 not to prosecute Epstein for operating what police described as massive sex trafficking ring.
In a virtually unprecedented concession to a defendant and his suspected accomplices, Acosta’s deal with Epstein forbade authorities from investigating his associates. These included his Palm Beach neighbor Trump, who was also a fellow wealthy socialite on Manhattan’s East Side.
Acosta’s hands-off federal posture allowed state authorities in the joint federal-state case to arrange a sweetheart deal with the billionaire (shown in a mugshot) to serve 13 months of night incarceration. This special treatment was meted out despite massive police evidence that Epstein sexually abused scores of underage girls recruited from Palm Beach area junior high and high schools.
County records show that the sentence was so light that Epstein was visited 67 times at the minimum security Palm Beach County Stockade by Nadia Marcinkova. She was an assistant who police say helped wrangle teen masseuses for Epstein and joined in what the New York Post described in 2009 as the “sordid sex play.”
More recently, a lawsuit filed last year by a “Jane Doe” (later identified as a Katie Johnson) accused Trump and Epstein of raping her in New York City in 1994 when she was a 13-year-old runaway and aspiring model.
Trump allegedly then threatened her with death if she reported her multiple rapes or Trump’s threat that she would end up like “Maria,” another underage girl who was said to have disappeared suddenly from their sex and “party” scene.
The suit was dropped last November because of what plaintiff’s attorney Lisa Bloom described as new threats from unknown sources.
Acosta and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer failed to respond to Justice Integrity Project requests for comment about Acosta. Trump named Acosta as the labor nominee soon after businessman Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination Feb. 15. Puzder (shown in a file photo) failed to win sufficient Senate support.
Epstein’s problems arose publicly in 2005 after a Palm Beach mother claimed that Epstein paid $300 to her 14-year old daughter for sex. Palm Beach police developed leads from there. They suggested that Epstein and his accomplices had recruited scores of underage girls from local schools for massages often leading to sexual encounters.
But there’s always a difference of opinion in such matters, particularly when friends are involved.
“I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “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. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
Acosta’s backers can be expected to steer his confirmation far away from Epstein and Trump and focus instead on the nominee’s background.
The Senate’s clubby traditions lend themselves to that kind of emphasis on the positive.
In this instance, Acosta, 48, is the son of Cuban refugees. He earned a law degree from Harvard and received Bush administration presidential appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and to two posts in the Justice Department, including as U.S. attorney for the Justice Department’s Miami-based southern district of Florida from 2005 until the near end of the Bush administration in 2009.
He is currently dean of Florida International School of Law in Miami and also chairman of the U.S. Century Bank, ranked as his state’s largest domestically owned Hispanic community bank and among the 15 largest such banks in the nation.
Acosta’s Role, the Senate’s Role, Your Role
In normal times, this kind of career path — whereby a minority group member’s advancement from investigating bankers to becoming a banker — might seem purely positive. Indeed, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) each rushed out statements on the day of Acosta’s nomination praising him as an outstanding choice.
Yet a close examination of this nominee’s record raises many questions of judgment on the part of the nominee on specific cases, questions whose importance are magnified in this instance because federal prosecutors are rarely held accountable even for gross lapses. Acosta has the rare circumstance of a nomination before a U.S. Senate committee that will be shirking its duty if it fails to explore the evidence.
This column begins a long, multi-part series that documents the horrific crimes and mind-boggling mysteries that Acosta and his colleagues helped cover-up and enable while advancing their own careers under the nostrum of “public service.” One path leads from Epstein to Trump to “Maria,” the allegedly murdered sex victim. This series helps chart what we know of that mystery.
But that search necessarily involves you and those like you. During the Senate’s consideration of Acosta’s nomination, that body has the power to call witnesses and demand other evidence to determine the facts regarding the massive child sex trafficking Acosta helped enable and the other injustices portrayed below. Yet the senators will never bestir themselves beyond partisan rhetoric and other ineffectual posturing unless the public demands action.
This series provides a roadmap for your understanding of some of the darkest forces corrupting the justice system. The Acosta nomination provides you a rare opportunity to take action in an effective manner. For one thing, it would be a rare senator from either party who dares not investigate suspected widespread abuse of junior high school sex victims.