The case of Jeffrey E. Epstein, billionaire, philanthropist and — oh, yes — registered sex offender, won’t seem to go away.
Epstein, for those who have forgotten, is the up-from-the-bootstraps, Coney Island-bred financier who made enough money to live in splendor on an island in the Caribbean. Then, prosecutors say, his weakness for women — and girls — caused him to do bad things.
After a lot of back and forth, Epstein pleaded guilty in a deal with federal authorities to state prostitution-related charges and went to prison in Palm Beach County, Fla., as The New York Times recounted in 2008. He got out after 13 months, and one might think that would be the end of the matter as he retreated to his palm trees and lagoons.
But no. In one more tidbit in a scandal that keeps on giving, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alexander Acosta, asserts that members of Epstein’s defense team sought to dig up dirt on prosecutors. “Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families,” seeking to unearth personal issues that might lead to disqualification, Acosta said in a letter to The Daily Beast.
Not true, Roy Black, one of Epstein’s lawyers, told The Palm Beach Daily News. “Mr. Acosta mentions we looked for personal peccadilloes of prosecutors,” Black said. “I am not sure what he refers to but this never happened. We did point out misconduct and over-reaching by certain people involved in the investigation.”
If the name Roy Black rings a bell, it may be because he successfully defended William Kennedy Smith against rape charges in Florida some years back. Other members of Epstein’s all-star defense team have included Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard super-brain who defended Claus von Bulow and is, like Epstein from Brooklyn, and Kenneth Starr, who did indeed delve into personal peccadilloes in a White House scandal not so long ago.