U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta accused former Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer of forcing federal prosecutors to cut what many have described as a sweetheart deal with Jeffrey Epstein to assure the Palm Beach financier would be punished for molesting dozens of teenage girls more than a decade ago. Acosta insisted that when he was U.S. attorney, he prevented an injustice that would have occurred because Krischer refused to prosecute Epstein vigorously for offenses Acosta described as “despicable,” reports the Palm Beach Post. “The Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office was ready to let Epstein walk free, no jail time, nothing,” Acosta said. “Prosecutors in my office found this to be completely unacceptable.”
Since the 66-year-old politically-connected money manager was arrested on Saturday and charged with two counts of sex trafficking, there have been growing calls for Acosta to resign from his Cabinet-level post for shelving a 53-page indictment that could have sent Epstein to prison for decades. Krischer, who served for 16 years as the county’s top prosecutor before retiring in 2009, said Acosta “should not be allowed to rewrite history. I can emphatically state that Mr. Acosta’s recollection of this matter is completely wrong.” Acosta conceded that the controversial 2007 non-prosecution agreement that his prosecutors negotiated with Epstein’s high-powered legal team wasn’t optimal. Epstein should have served more than 13 months in a segregated area of the Palm Beach County Stockade, a cell he was allowed to leave for 12 hours a day, six days a week. Krischer said Acosta could have filed the 53-page indictment his prosecutors prepared against Epstein. Instead, Acosta opted to engage in “secret” negotiations with Epstein’s high-powered legal team, which included famed lawyer Alan Dershowitz, former Solicitor General Ken Starr and New York lawyer Jay Lefkowitz, Krischer said.