Some people have been asking why Jeffrey Epstein‘s 2007 federal non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida doesn’t prohibit new federal charges. Well, there’s a straightforward answer for that. It only covered that office, and has no binding effect on federal prosecutors for the Southern District of New York.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman clarified this point in a press conference on Monday, saying that the SDNY wasn’t a signatory to the agreement. Nonetheless, this dynamic was already pretty clear when news about Epstein’s arrest broke this weekend.
I’m seeing a lot of questions about how Jeffrey Epstein can be prosecuted even though he signed a Non-Prosecution Agreement over 10 years ago.
The agreement’s language is specific that he wouldn’t be prosecuted for offenses in the Southern District of Florida, not New York.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) July 7, 2019
The non-prosecution agreement Acosta assented to only applied to crimes committed in the Southern District of Florida. SDNY has now charged crimes that took place in New York, which are not covered by the earlier agreement.
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) July 7, 2019
Law&Crime trial analyst Gene Rossi, a former federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia, told Law&Crime in a phone interview Sunday that a non-prosecution agreement would only bind the office that made it.
According to an indictment unsealed Monday, Epstein abused dozens of underage girls at his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida. He had victims to visit his homes for sex acts, and had some of them and some of his employees recruit more targets, prosecutors said. Girls were as young as 14 years old.
Esptein was charged with sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking on Monday, but U.S. Attorney Berman suggested these might not be the only crimes Epstein will be charged for. He said a search of Epstein’s New York home over the weekend resulted in the discovery of nude images of young girls.
SDNY: Berman says nude fotos of youg girls were seized during search of Epstein house over the weekend.
— John Riley (@jriley8832) July 8, 2019
[Mugshot via Florida Department of Law Enforcement]