Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job?

Dec 03, 2018 · 548 comments
DC (Ct)
the bigger question is how did Epstein make his millions
Next Conservatism (United States)
It seems a good guess that Acosta has a job because Donald Trump knows a whole lot more about this than he'd ever willingly say.
Candlewick (Ubiquitous Drive)
It isn't just Mr. Acosta who should be jobless- it should also be New York District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr. In 2011, Vance's office argued to lower Epstein's sex offender designation from "3" (highly likely to re-offend) to the lowest "1" category. " Assistant DA Jennifer Gaffney, then-deputy chief of Cyrus Vance Jr.’s sex-crimes unit, in January 2011 asked a Manhattan judge to downgrade Epstein’s status in the New York sex-offender registry from the most-dangerous Level 3 to least-restrictive Level 1." “ I have never seen the prosecutor’s office do anything like this,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz told Gaffney. “I have done many [cases] much less troubling than this one where [prosecutors] would never make a downward argument like this.” (New York Post 12-1-18) This is the same Cyrus Vance Jr who couldn't bring himself to follow through with an indictment of Trump children, Ivanka and Donald Jr for mortgage fraud "after being asked by Donald Trump's personal attorney, Marc Kasowitz, to drop the charges." (www.thehill.com 10-4-2017) Can this seedy affair get any worse?
Alex (Indiana)
The fact that Epstein seems to have gotten off virtually scott free given the seriousness of his offenses is indeed an outrage. What's not completely clear is that Acosta was truly complicit. He may not have had much choice. We simply don't know, there's much that has not seen the light of day. Personally, I think more outrage should be directed at the likes of Alan Dershowitz, who seems only too glad to have used his prodigious legal skills to "outlawyer" the prosecution and help Epstein get away with what he did. The same legal talents Prof. Dershowitz was only too happy to use to help OJ Simpson get away with two extraordinarily violent murders. After all, everyone is entitled to the best legal talent they can pay for.
Mintas Lanxor (Lewisville)
Alan Dershowitz, a member of Epstein's legal team, is also implicated as a recepient of sexual favors via his client. All of these things that have been happening since the GOP was hijacked by Gingrich and and other unscrupulous power-hungry players from his party are signs of American decadence from which it will not recover given the fact that serious world and domestic problems (some of them unsolvable) keep multiplying.
Believer in Public Schools (New Salem, MA)
Trump has much longer fingers than we give him credit for. It's not hard to read Trumpfluence here. But why?
Ken (San Francisco)
I doubt if more than a handful of Epstein's friends have walked away and disassociated themselves from him. You do not hear about him being held up to public ridicule. It's more like, "Well, 'ya know, that happened over there and he has money and knows powerful people."
sunrise (NJ)
I'm sure the mothers of these nice frat boys wouild be proud. What a fraternity of weak minded, sexual deviants. Did Kavanaugh spend any time in Fla?
joyce (santa fe)
Well we are now seeing the true color of the associates around Trump. They tend to have a certain attitude toward women, it makes them a good old boys network with something in common. This gives a real gleam to the underbelly of the Trump administration. When, if ever, will we be rid of these tarnished and taudry old boys? The dissipation and criminal behavior just keeps coming.
CORRECT! Why DOES Acosta still have a job? The unbelievably corrupt and incompetent Trump Administration continues to amaze us with their crimes. Trump doesn't care - that is normal in HIS world. THAT is how he runs his businesses - skirting the law, breaking the law, lying, cheating, stealing. He hires "people like him" - his "good" people. Trump's "good people" are mostly in jail these days. While I'm at it, why isn't Trump? Answer: because his Trumplican cult following in Congress is in bed with him and has passed the point of no return. They have no choice now other than doubling and tripling down (or resigning before they are arrested) in the impossible hope that America will become a wholesale criminal enterprise. Do Americans really think this is a "patriotic" stance? A "brave" one? John Gotti, Al Capone, Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon all played their crimes like violins - just as Trump and his sycophants do. Stupid is as stupid does. Do YOU believe Trump? Do YOU think he cares about anything but himself and money? Don 't embarrass yourself.
Shim (Midwest)
I read the article in Miami Herald. It makes me sick that Alex Acosta and his group of prosecutors judged against children who were molested en mass by this pedophile.
Alexandra Hamilt (NYC)
If the Dems investigate Acosta and it eventually ensnares Clinton that might be what the party actually needs to regain public trust.
charles doody (AZ)
Less dirt than this caused the UK's Prime Minister to be ousted, yet this will raise some ire, get a few news cycles and fade with no impact on the filthy, corrupt Trump train. SAD!
nzierler (new hartford ny)
Why does Acosta still have a job? Just look who he reports to, our illustrious "maybe he did, maybe he didn't"president.
MRod (OR)
What say you now, Evangelical Trump voters?
SmartCat (Colorado)
It's very interesting that Donald Trump is a known associate of Epstein's, and here is the prosecutor who shut down the investigation into Epstein's associates, working in the Trump Administration.. coincidence I'm sure.
Jack black south (Richmond)
Fox News did not hesitate to reveal a mar-a-lago epstein connection, which tRump has been able to get distance from. Let the messy, criminal truth emerge. Thank you, Michelle, for keeping this in the news. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-labor-secretary-alexander-acosta-went-easy-on-pedophile-predator-who-ensnared-victim-at-mar-a-lago-report
thevilchipmunk (WI)
Just a bit of perspective... A few years ago, a former college friend of mine was arrested and convicted of distributing child pornography online. He was sentenced to five years plus probation of at least another five years, as per a plea agreement. I thought it shockingly lenient at the time. But I guess if your a poor, working-class sod, with no money or family connections, your version of "leniency" is serving nearly five times as long in Federal prison as some rich guy (who gets to do his time in a "private wing" of the county lock-up). Only in America.
Everything about this story is shocking and disgusting. Did Acosta and Epstein really believe that the truth would not come out? Don't they know that it always does? Just another example of powerful white men thinking they are above the law and that money will save them from being held accountable. But guess what? It didn't work for Anthony Weiner, or Harvey Weinstein and in the long run it won't work for Acosta and Epstein either.
bcole (hono)
Payback for all the Ken Starr acolytes from the GOP has been career advancement.
Horace (Detroit)
I read this disgusting story in the Herald last week and kudos to them for publishing it. Ken Starr and others at Kirkland and Ellis ought to be ashamed of themselves. After pretending to be so outraged by Clinton's acts, Ken Starr actually seems to be quite tolerant of sexual abuse of women. He failed to take action at Baylor and ultimately lost his job because he looked the other way when football players were committing multiple rapes. And now, he helps a serial child abuser evade justice by using his personal connections to corrupt the US Justice Dept. He and his cohorts should first lose their law licenses and then face trial for obstruction of justice.
SUW (Bremen Germany)
You are a very scary person, Michelle. There have to be a lot of powerful (white) men who hate you very much right now. Stay the course, woman. You are powerful. Thank you. Thank you.
Trump's cabinet is a reflection of his moral values which seem to resemble those of a crime boss with a corrupt attorney general in his pocket and a spineless GOP which fails to hold him accountable.
SC (Boston)
Maybe because there have been actual court cases accusing Trump himself of rape of a 13 year old arranged by his buddy Epstein. I've never understood why these cases haven't been more widely reported, especially in light of these recent revelations. https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/06/23/donald-trump-rape-lawsuit/
Tough Call (USA)
This is beyond disturbing. Alex Acosta may be just the tip of the iceberg. Please get to the bottom of this.
Deirdre Oliver (Australia)
This is old news. It should have been exposed when Acosta was nominated. I've known about it for nearly 2 years, and have read an affidavit filed against Trump himself accusing him of sexual abuse of a minor. It was withdrawn amid accusations of threats to the victim's family. I don't know if it was true but it might be why Trump has been singularly quiet about Clinton and Epstein, `lovely guy', and the entire thing. It seems that in order to get a hands up from the Trump administration a solid background of corruption is required.Among them but far from all are: Wilbur Ross, Alex Acosta, Steve Mnuchin, Michael Catanzaro, Jay Clayton, Ryan Zinke, Chad Wolf, Shakira Knight, Tom Price, Lance Leggitt, Scott Gottlieb, Matthew Whitaker, Scott Pruit, Geoffrey Burr, D J Gribbin, Sonny Perdue, Tom McKay, Larry O'Neal, - Some already ousted but all suspect. Mostly they go quietly about their business which is to serve those who PAY them the most, and it ain't the government. These are the carpetbaggers who always climb onto the grifter's wagon. Drain the swamp? - LOL!
alanore (or)
It's a sad situation that a federal prosecutor has that much power, and there's no oversight. I don't care whose administration it was under, but it's juicy that Dershowitz is perhaps complicit!
Gabriel (Portland, OR)
So if Acosta is so blatantly guilty in Michelle Goldberg's eyes, why not wait for him to be indicted of a crime[s] and then be convicted? Goldberg almost seems scared of due process, even for someone she is 100% sure is guilty...of something. Instead, she wants his career ended immediately. Her suggestion for a resolution to this matter simply lacks credibility.
manda (manhattan)
I cannot help but wonder if Mr. Acosta's present position is reward for his gentle treatment of this serial predator and the anonymity afforded to his friends, one of whom is now residing in the white house. Epstein liked to provide under age women to his rich and powerful friends to keep them "in his pocket." Not hard to imagine Trump being one of them.
lawrence garvin (san francisco)
Let's not forget that Clinton and Dershowitz both flew on Epstein's airplane and Trump is also one of his pals. He has been well protected over the years and we can only hope for the truth to finally emerge about this monster.
tim s. (longmont)
The introductory sentence to this piece says it all: where does one start (or stop) when detaling the corruption and criminality of the Trump adminsitration? And then there are the liars and enablers which populate the staff members of this crowd who can and should be brought to legal account for their complicity and conspiracy. Reading the news about this administration necessitates a shower.
AutumLeaff (Manhattan)
Fair is fair. This guy protected an alleged child molester. The leaders of metoo are protecting a child rapist, the leader of metoo. That person lured a minor with intent, got the minor drunk, they had sex, she took pictures and showed them to her friends, yet she walks scot free. If we will pillory some one for covering up an ‘alleged’ child molester, then why not jail those who are protecting and defending a known child rapist? I say the whole lot should be in jail, the ‘alleged’ child molester, the dude that is defending him, the child rapists and her circle who is protecting her. Don’t protest some and defend others for the same crime.
Plato (Kansas Cityt)
Nice to see the NYTimes conscience alive & well for reporting on Trump administration scandals (as the 'Times was in total hibernation for reporting on the plethora of scandals during the Obama administrations).
Anthony (Kansas)
This is all simply insane. What is wrong with these people? How anyone can ever vote for someone associated with Trump is beyond me.
Katalina (Austin, TX)
A new low, if "new" can be used at all for the continual reports of misdeeds. Those who knew most of Epstein's love of beautiful women as Trump described him in the same league as POTUS surely did not know of the age of these beautiful girls, not women, or at not until Epstein turned them into women. Pretty nasty business we're in here, all covered up by those like Acosta et al in power. Why are women so angry? Let me count the reasons. Yes, as Goldberg writes, Time's up.
Barbara (SC)
Speaking of rotten to the core. It was a travesty that Epstein got to choose his own prison and got a very brief sentence. Acosta benefited from all of this, possibly by covering up the names of other men who were involved.
Mark (Boston)
Q: "Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job"? A: No vetting, no morals, no concerns about competence in this administration. In fact, the more hostile to the office and constituents the better. The best people indeed.
Sad former GOP fan (Arizona)
When will our vocal white evangelicals get on the air to condemn this horror? Don't hold your breath. Evangelicals won't cross the GOP who've promised for years to overturn Roe. Truth is, the GOP will never overturn Roe because if they do then they lose ties to the religious right. The GOP promises an end to Roe to keep picking the pockets and votes of the religious right who'll shut up on the Epstein horror and the overall horror of Donald Trump and his administration.
Cameron Skene (Montreal CA)
This deserves so much more than a 'thumb's up', but I'm so speechless, I can't manage coherent comment. Good reporting that gets lost under the rubble.
Tom (San Jose)
Whether or not this is a snarky comment is difficult to determine, but here we have truly a bi-partisan effort - men preying on young women. That there are different elements using this scandal for partisan ends, most of the powerful want it to go away. Prince Andrew, Slick Willie Clinton and Trump all in one scandal - it's enough to make one question our social morality. On maybe not.
cheerful dramatist (NYC)
Thanks so much for this column. I am so glad NYT printed it. I have been reading about this for years on the internet. Now that it is in the Times maybe there will be some Justice for the victims and wouldn't it be nice if the perps went to real jail. Probably not, but as more names come out, I cannot help but think these men will have to pay some kind of price. And while we are on the subject what about that underaged girl who accused Trump of rape, then dropped the case when her family got death threats. I wonder if Michael Cohen has tapes on that? And yes from the underground I read that Trump often flew on the "Lolita Express as Epstein ( great guy) called his special entertainment airplane.
Michael Tyndall (SF)
Despite this bombshell news and escalating news out of the Mueller investigation, Trump's support will likely remain around 40%. I'm just wondering if evangelicals are still ok with all this. Oh, right. Mitch still has work to do packing the federal bench with right wing religious zealots.
DC (Ct)
Why does he have a job,better question is why he is not in prison.
George (US)
Speaking as someone who's earliest memories are of being sexually abused by a neighbor (who was a victim of abuse himself), and knowing many other neighbors, friends, and acquaintances who suffered similar experiences, speaking also as a man myself, having grown up sexually aware from the start, and the conflicts that caused me with my own sexuality, I suspect this article and its implications makes many men confused and uncomfortable, if they dare introspect. How do we actually break this cycle? I believe an answer to that question may lie somewhere in men, individually and in general, letting down our defenses about these issues and accepting personal responsibility (instead of, to name a few, defensively labeling Feminists "Feminazis," or for some reason distrusting any woman in a position of power...these things are all tied together). Only then can we see clearly what violence this is we are discussing, and only then can we truly cultivate empathy for its victims. Regardless of the ultimate answer to that difficult question, in the short term this particular case needs to be blown wide, wide open. Bring them all down. We as a society can only move forward if we are able to take stock of the full scale of the problem. I'm astounded the FBI and our judicial system allowed an investigation of this magnitude to be halted by courtroom maneuvering.
Analyst (SF Bay area)
I want to clarify something on this case. When a person pays a child money for a massage for the purpose of seduction, that is not prostitution, that is grooming. This guy wanted children not adults. Essentially he was offering candy to babies. When he got them to the house he changed the offer. Not just massage but undressing, being molested, being an object in his sexual activity, having their hair pulled for non compliance, being raped in at least couple of cases. It looked like prostitution. But prostitution is a contract between adults. And an adult protects their own interests. This guy was looking for victims.
Jane (Sierra foothills)
"Congress can send a message: Time’s up." That's hilarious. Congress COULD send such a message, but of course they won't. Unless the new Democratic majority in the House steps up to the plate. The Democrats are going to be extremely busy attempting to clean up the worst of the criminal corruption surrounding Trump. They may be forced to pick their battles. If so, old Acosta might just escape for now since he is, relatively speaking, a small fish in a massively polluted pond.
bobbybow (mendham, nj)
This is a classic The Donald hire. A man with no scruples, no morals who loves to live on the public dole. The Donald and "his" plutocrats cannot be held to the rules that we peons live by. These are men of the world and our rules do not apply.
Christine (OH)
From Jeffrey Epstein to Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein to (if not the judge himself) the men who sheltered Brett Kavanaugh from investigation we see abuse of justice for women by cabals of powerful men. Add to this the way they are trying to rig the rules to keep themselves in political and economic power and we have not seen such a group of men so privileged and contemptuous of the rest of the human race, in the Western world, since the ancien regime in France prior to the French Revolution.
Marc S (Teaneck )
If he is still part of the administration there should be hearings??? No! There should be hearings, a special counsel, whatever is needed to fully investigate every single incident and actor associated with Epstein. Nothing less will suffice.
Constance (Santa Rosa)
Thank you for keeping this front and forward, Michelle. There is so much evil that reeks from this story it is staggering in its depravity. The rich, white and powerful men who are never fully held to justice (or at all) for debasing and abusing children is a tale told many many times in our society and around the world. I commend the telling and I look forward to some justice at long last. I care not if the perpetrators or enablers who are dealt it are Republicans or Democrats.
poslug (Cambridge)
The Miami Herald article is worth reading in its entirety and perhaps other journalists should expand on it further. The article mentions that a modeling agency was bringing in young women from Eastern Europe for Epstein. Who was part of Epstein's sordid circle needs to be made public as a potential security issue.
Stephen Holland (Nevada City)
Another piece that can be summed up rather nicely: The rich, the elite, the well connected will never give up their prerogatives without being forced to.
St. Thomas (NY)
It is up to our AG now to see if she can nail Epstein here in NYS. I hope Florida 's AG does the right thing as well. I am not alone in condemning the impunity of these folks. I was utterly appalled, reading the Florida Herald's series and I urge all news outlets including CBS and NBC not to let this go. It's too big and too dirty. I feel dirty just being in the same city with the likes of Epstein.
michjas (Phoenix )
The alleged crimes of Mr. Epstein can all be prosecuted because there is no federal statute of limitations. Proving that Mr. Acosta acted fraudulently is next to impossible because of the rules of prosecutorial immunity. There is a chance that more than a dozen sexual victims will attain justice here. There isn't much chance that Mr. Acosta will be successfully prosecuted. This is a good news case for the victims. It is a no win case regarding Acosta. Journalists like to come down hard on no win matters that can't be proven because they can't be proven wrong.
Slann (CA)
"For reasons that are not entirely clear, Acosta took extraordinary measures to let Epstein — and, crucially, other unnamed people — off the hook." FOLLOW THE MONEY. There's no way Acosta didn't benefit financially from this heinous criminality. I suggest Panama is one place to start looking. He MUST be prosecuted.
Mikeweb (NY, NY)
In the wake of the #metoo election, these are exactly the types of widespread and disgusting crimes that need to be fully investigated and punishment handed out to all those involved.
EMiller (Kingston, NY)
Disgusting. There is no other word for this evil man and everyone else in his world.
Walker (DC)
What is it about Florida?
displaced New Englander (Chicago)
Will someone please clarify: who nicknamed Epstein's private plane the "Lolita Express"?
camorrista (Brooklyn, NY)
Is it really a surprise that the man who boasted in the Access Hollywood tape of his pleasure in assaulting any woman in his vicinity; who paid a porn star and a Playmate for their silence about his affairs with them; who mused aloud about dating his daughter; whose first wife accused him of marital rape--is it really a suprise that such a man--the current President of the United States--would hand a Cabinet spot to a Federal prosecutor who arranged a sweetheart deal for a pedophile? There are no surprises here. Alexander Acosta is what he is, and Donald Trump is what he is. Worthless as public servants, worthless as human beings.
A. Simon (NY, NY)
Great report, Ms Goldberg. You are such a welcome addition here, I have been a fan since Up with Chris Hayes. From the article: “one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts, told The Herald that Epstein didn’t just abuse her himself, he also “lent” her out to “politicians and academics and royalty.” She claimed in a 2015 affidavit that she’d had sex with both Prince Andrew of Britain — she included a photograph of them together — and with one of Epstein’s attorneys, Alan Dershowitz, now best known for his public defenses of Trump. (Dershowitz has said Roberts lied to try to extract money from wealthy men.)” Dershowitz went on a merciless attack of the victims, including threatening Virginia Roberts. She claims (under oath) that she had sex with him at least six times. He was a very close friend of Epstein and traveled with him frequently. Dershowitz needs to fired as well, from anywhere he spouts his agenda driven drivel.
Bob (Portland)
Acosta still has a job because Trump searches far and wide for the worst and the slimyest people to put into government.
Lou Good (Page, AZ)
Don't have any trouble believing all of this including the allegations against both Clinton and Dershowitz. That's the world we live in now.
Cate (New Mexico)
@Lou Good: I'm sorry to say Lou Good, that's the world women and girls have lived in for millennia.
rosa (ca)
I just finished reading the Miami Herald's "Perversion of Justice" by Julie K. Brown. There is no mistaking that Acosta caved to every demand made by that criminal, Jeffery Epstein, and Brown makes it very clear that it was because of Epstein's little army of PI's, taking a fine-toothed comb to all of the prosecutor's private lives. Yes, Acosta was a craven quisling and, like the rest of them, needs to have his license yanked. But, Michelle, you didn't mention that Epstein's mad-dog, blustering attorney was Kenneth Starr. You know, that famous Christian man, a man of God, the one we last heard of in 2016, who was resigning from Baylor University because he had tried to shut up the female students who were being sexually assaulted by the football team. Oh, that Ken Starr! What a Pattern of Behavior! It's only 2 years later and here he is again trying to protect criminal men from their accusers, this time a pedophile abusing over 100 young girls. Well, I'm sure we'll hear from Starr again, perhaps representing Trump? You see, one of the victims was Virginia Roberts and she was was working at Mar-a-Lago for Trump, who is a good friend of Jeffery Epstein. So, yes, Acosta needs to be criminally investigated. All of the attorneys in the article must be. These are criminals and it is breath-taking that this country has allowed them to just wander around helping each other out. And the answer to your question is: Alex Acosta still has a job because Trump hires crooks.
Crimson Clover (The Branch)
How is this allowed to happen in this country? It seems the rich and well connected have a different set of rules and laws especially when they have the "dirt" on some big shots. Someone needs to blow this wide open. There were victims that were willing to talk. I am totally disgusted. Where are the MeToo advocates?
Jack Straw (Chicago)
Because Trump attended Epstein's parties.
janet silenci (brooklyn)
Why am I not suprised about Dershowitz? Because week after week he seems to be more definitively on the path of the increasingly demented Giuliani, afflicted with a sickness affecting white (Republican) men that makes them believe their identity, in and of itself, IS an acquittal to any and and all potential indictments for crimes and treasonous or immoral behavior. They are becoming--the party--so unamerican as to be unrecognizable as servants to anything.
John B Wood (New York City)
Are you kidding me? !!! Where was the deep state when this treasonous conduct was going on?
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
How much money did Epstein pay Acosta to let Epstein skip?
John G (Torrance, CA)
Domestic and international child sex trafficking with hundreds of documented victims gets you one year in jail with 12 hours of work release daily. Maybe....just maybe, the Republicans can get their heads around this. Follow the money from Epstein to Acosta. The Secretary of Labor should not just be fired but belongs in prison. A special prosecutor and investigation MUST happen! This is the most EGREGIOUS Republican act------ever.
Tom (Sonoma, CA)
What about the woman who alleged that Trump raped her at an Epstein party when she was fourteen? She dropped her suit right before the election. Where's the reporting on that? And why is alleged child molester Alan Dershowitz still on TV?
Alexandra Hamilt (NYC)
Why is this not headline news in the NYT?! I am just finding out about it in an op-Ed. Which sort of helps explain why Acosta isn’t losing his job...
John F. Harrington (Out West)
Quite Contrary (Philly)
Thank you, Ms. Goldberg. Just when we think the news can't be more disgusting, another example of grotesque complicity among the ultra rich involving predation of females shows up. In this case made all the more horrendous because the victims were children. And those protecting the perps are powerful figures in our government. At least the pedophile priests were not picking our pockets. We'd never know any of this without another extraordinary female journalist (Julie Brown) who doggedly pursued this story and a police chief willing to go over his boss, Acosta's, head. Worth noting that were it not for the bravery and dedication to their professions of these two, plus the willingness of previously unnamed victims to come forward, plus Ms. Goldberg, the good ol' boys would continue merrily on their way, as they apparently have for a long time, with many high-ranking and highly visible pals. Yet investigative journalism and police work are among the least compensated and most thinly resourced endeavors of our screwed up society. Houston, I think we have a big, big problem in our priorities. We're just beginning to see this fish rot up to the head. One can only hope that the stink envelops every one of them and the scales of justice tilt heavily toward appropriate punishment. Deplorable doesn't begin to cover it.
Peggy Jo (St Louis)
I continue to wonder why this was not a bigger issue in Acosta's confirmation hearings. A simple glance at the shady characters Trump surrounds himself with makes it impossible for me to not draw two conclusions: 1. our government is both broken and corrupt; 2. vetting by this administration and the republican's rubber stamping of his picks is frightening.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Peggy Jo: They all seem to have dirt on each other. Each carries a box of matches in a powder magazine.
Harry Cleaver (Austin, Texas)
"Why does Alex Acosta still have a job?" Because, Michelle, Acosta's corruption fits nicely with that of the rest of the Trump administration. What do you expect? When Trump said he'd hire the "best people", few knew what that meant. Over time we've learned. His idea of the "best people" are those with corrupt backgrounds who are willing to participate in selling out the American people money, perks and the status of official jobs that they can eventually roll over into private ones. While it's an old story in politics, we've never seen this degree of corruption in modern US history.
Robert Coane (Finally Full Canadian)
• ... an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve. The Trump administration scandals should not be given any 'attention', just factually reported – same as his tweets should be totally ignored rather than re-tweeted and publicized. That's adding wood to the fire he so relishes an thrives on.
Cassandra (NC)
Thank you, Ms. Goldberg. Your opening paragraph is so well-crafted and totally spot-on. The deluge of corruption and heinous behavior is overwhelming. Not only should the perpetrators and enablers of these crimes be brought to justice, but every Republican member of Congress who continues to look the other way should pay at the ballot box for their silence and tacit complicity. Let's hope the 2018 midterms were only the opening salvo in the battle to restore sanity and decency to American governance.
paula (new york)
Call your elected leaders. They need to know we're paying attention. Then call them again. It was steady pressure that brought an end to Pruitt. Their goal is to exhaust us. Don't let them.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Apparently this case got elevated to the federal level so it could be treated as a civil matter. At the state level, the alleged acts are plainly criminal. In other words, it was a federal pre-emption of state laws.
James (Boston, MA)
The article states that "But if Acosta is still part of the administration next month, there should be hearings into his handling of the Epstein case." I would say there should be an investigation by DOJ no matter what. Also, we should have some follow-through on Trump cronies not yet held accountable for their violations of the law, including PRUITT and BEN CARSON. Republicans like to say they are the party of law and order (a nonexistent distinction, since we all (democrats, republicans, etc.) want rule of law, and law and order-the question is how to achieve it)-then they should act like by holding accountable all lawbreakers, including rich REPUBLICAN lawbreakers-not just the poor and exploited of society.
Majortrout (Montreal)
Because he's a trump devotee, and as we all know, trump has no morals!
Teacher (Oregon)
The overt criminality, and pay-to-play, of this administration must receive the cleansing power of truth and justice...The new Democratic majority in Congress (and some states) will have to decide if "holding powerful people accountable" will apply even if some of their own get caught in the net.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Teacher: Real estate magnates and their lawyers dominate the politics of most states.
antiquelt (aztec,nm)
I hope there is a follow up on the latest Epstein buy-out this morning in Miami!
Heidi Haaland (Minneapolis)
Thank you, Michelle, for keeping this on the front burner, as many people likely missed the Miami Herald story. I'd only change the title to "Why Isn't Alex Acosta Disbarred and in Prison?" Kenneth Starr, too.
Cody McCall (tacoma)
Why was Epstein allowed 'off the hook'? Key word: billionaire. Giver of large donations to GOP candidates. Like Acosta. As Deep Throat told Woodward in the parking garage, follow the money. That's the 'why'.
Tom (SFCA)
Donald Trump never forgets a favor (or a slight). Alexander Acosta was duly thanked by Trump with a Cabinet job in the Trump administration for giving Jeffrey Epstein a non-prosecution agreement, which benefited Trump by inuring him from prosecution for whatever sex crimes he committed with Epstein. I hope Robert Mueller is paying attention to this.
Scott (Harrisburg, PA)
Comet Ping-Pong. Time maybe it's not a wacky conspiracy theory. The only reason that I can see for Acosta to bury this is the fact that it was going to implicate a whole bunch of powerful men. Burying that story would go a long way toward putting many of the accused in your back pocket. Every person implicated should be investigated. Every victim should be allowed to testify. Who is going to do it though when this could very well go the whole way to the White House and include two Presidents?
db2 (Phila)
Will Alan Dershowitz be called as a witness? It would serve the pot calling the kettle.
P Maris (Miami)
Witness or co-conspirator?
Chris (Auburn)
Wow. Epstein's sentencing and incarceration reads like that of a Mafia boss or drug lord. Sorry little people, it is who you know.
Jonathan B (Albany, NY)
To answer the rhetorical question posed by your headline: Acosta still has a job because Donald Trump is his boss.
Gaucho54 (California)
Lie upon lie with a straight face, cronyism, pedophilia, rape, misogyny, racial and antisemitic hatred, thievery, cruelty...This isn't just abut the GOP, it's symptomatic of a much larger problem. The social scientists will have a field day studying this for decades to come.
Indie Voter (Pittsburgh, PA)
Why was Bill Clinton allowed to keep his?
Elizabeth (Roslyn, NY)
The Epstein story is not about politics per se but about very rich men lying and paying their way clear of serious sentences for criminal actions. So we've got Trump, Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew named as possible cohorts to Epstein. His brownstone in NYC was famous for parties where the very rich enjoyed the 'hospitality' of Epstein and just 3 names does not begin to complete the list of the very wealthy men who went there. Meanwhile, violent assault of an NFL player is dealt with swiftly with life changing consequences - losing a job - even before trial. What we have here in black and white is a proof positive case of American justice which has 2 separate and unequal branches. One of very rich, mostly white, men and another for the rest of America. And this does not even begin to show the total lack of support and 'justice' for the victims. That Acosta made this deal with Epstein should be investigated to the fullest extent and most definitely it should preclude him from ever holding public office. It's not like he will be out of work. Apparently there are a lot of very rich white men in need of his services. And what about Epstein? Will he ever stand before a judge with charges? The Epstein saga is one of the sleaziest in current history.
Susan (USA)
While Romney promised to pick his administration from his binders full of women, Trump appears to have binders full of scoundrels as the source of his.
JudyM (Minneapolis)
Another “criminal” hired by the guy in the White House. My god, when will enough be enough? It’s mind-boggling!
Andre Bormanis (Los Angeles)
You have to wonder if Acosta is and remains a member of the Trump cabinet because he has something on Trump and his relationship to Epstein.
smb (Savannah )
What happens now that this has been settled? Do the many victims whose lives were damaged go back into the shadows? Do the wealthy privileged white men who abused these children get a pass yet again? Trump said if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, his supporters would still support him. He said on tape that he could sexually assault any woman he wanted because he was powerful. Kavanaugh's GOP supporters squashed an FBI investigation. Are these men above justice because they are white, powerful, rich, well-connected? Will journalists or attorneys keep pursuing this or sweep it once again under a rug? Trump, Acosta, Dershowitz and others are in power now. We don't know if Russians or others got copies of Epstein's recordings. This isn't ancient history.
Leslie (New York, NY)
Argh!!! Is there any kind of corruption or sleaze that isn't part of Trump's administration, family or family business?
Baldwin (New York)
We need a full investigation of this disgusting mess. Once it’s done anyone involved should be locked up and kept completely away from public office. If that sinks the Clintons along with half the Republican Party, I’m ok with that.
No (SF)
He keeps his job because he is accused but not yet found to be guilty. It turns out, in this America, guilt is determined by the legal system, not irresponsible columnists who make accusations based on supposition and innuendo.
Quite Contrary (Philly)
@No Excuse me? Irresponsible columnists? "Supposition and innuendo"? What level of evidence of criminal complicity do you think it takes to get a Miami police chief to go over boss Acosta's head? As head of Civil Rights, Acosta was known for his concern about sex trafficking. Like Eric Schneiderman was known for his concerns about domestic abuse/sexual harrassment in New York. That's why he put his tail between his legs and ran when accused of abusing his GF, right? Then Trump puts Acosta in charge of a federal agency? Only good people, yah. Based on the verifiable evidence, I'd say this is unequivocally another example of a felon who finds it's best to hide in plain sight, collect a federal salary and pass jail. Thank heaven for "irresponsible journalists".
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@No: Gee, I had no idea why corrupting the entire judicial system was the do or die reason to back Trump.
Buzzman69 (San Diego, CA)
Wasn't Trump strongly rumored to have hung out with and gone to parties at another famous guy who got convicted for having sex with and providing underage girls for his friends? And what happened to the 15 yr. old who was suing Trump during the election in 2016? Was that case simply dismissed or what?
Mary (Peoria)
@Buzzman69 The famous guy who you are referring to was none other than Epstein. The case in 2016 was brought by an adult woman who alleged that Trump and Epstein had both raped her when she was 13. She dropped her suit shortly before election day because she said she was receiving threats against her life. But before that, a judge had found her claims credible enough that a court date had been set. I hope at least some of this is in the information fixer Cohen is providing as part of his plea deal.
JuniorK (Spartanburg, SC)
The same reason Donald Trump still has a job.
Allison (Sausalito, Calif)
We need more women in government.
Otis Tarnow-Loeffler (Los Angeles)
If any series of crimes needs a special prosecutor, it's the Lolita Express and all who flew upon her. Robert Mueller III has his next assignment prepped and waiting. This needs to be investigated even if it takes down Dershowitz, Bill Clinton, British royalty, whomever. Anyone doing any kind of business with Jeffrey Epstein likewise needs to be investigated.
Matt586 (New York)
May the truth come out and let the chips fall. May the guilty be brought to justice. Also, isn't there something about a millstone be wrapped around one's neck and then thrown into the sea for anyone who abuses little children?
Frankster (Paris)
@Matt586 If you or I did the same, we would be serving a 10 to 20 in the "unprivate" wing of the prison. The fact that power and money can completely subvert the judicial system is a real commentary on where we are at as a nation.
Oscar (Brookline)
Wonder what the "evangelicals" think of the latest in a long list of abuse of girls and women by this so-called President and the oleaginous, shameful lot that surround him? Perfectly okay, I'm guessing. Better to have someone who will appoint judges that will protect a collection of cells than someone who protects the actual human beings they become. Even when they are still children. The "evangelicals", as Trump calls them, not even bothering to use the faux modifier "christians", with a small "c", left the teachings of Christ behind a long time ago. And if there is a heaven, there will be no place in it for them. Just a very special place in hades, right along side their "messiah" and his crime family members.
Margo Channing (NYC)
@Oscar All is forgiven apparently.
Steve (Seattle)
Sounds as if Acosta was trying to protect the whole swamp. Check into his finances, my bet is that he got paid off big time.
Pete (Oregon)
"...Trump also counted Epstein as a friend, once affectionately describing him as a man who 'likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.'" In a decent and well-ordered world, this man would be forbidden by law from contact with children.
Frankster (Paris)
@Pete In a real Federal prison, where he should be, he would be the subject of abuse.
Terry Phelps (Victoria BC)
The United States is a banana republic. All that America really stands for is money, power and greed. In fact, it's become the national religion. Basically, you try and attain wealth to give you a better class of citizenship. Now, rich people have always had more privilege and status than poor people, but in America, it's a point of pride and achievement. Meanwhile, the righteous cloak themselves in the cloak of anglo-christian purity (Ken Starr?) tilting at the windmills that must come down, and leaving the other ones alone. The United States is deeply corrupted, to its core. Time to start again.
Randomonium (Far Out West)
My cynical reaction is that Trump's corrupt, unpatriotic regime has attracted a remarkable collection of bad actors. From Scott Pruitt to Ryan Zinke to Wilbur Ross to Kris Kobach to Andrew Wheeler to Alex Acosta, the majority of these people have proven that they do not belong in positions of trust in our government. One way or another, every one of them should be investigated. I want to thank Donald Trump for bringing the worst people he could find to his administration. Maybe with a Democrat-controlled House, we can flush them out and replace them with competent, honest, non-partisan administrators.
Amy (San Francisco)
Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering this important story. Please don't let this slip through the news cycle.
Margaret (Vancouver)
Stunning. Thank you Michele Goldberg for shedding light on this. Congress can indeed send a message: Time's up.
Once again, only the details change, not the substance: Rape of women and children is not considered a crime of any consequence. It happens the world over, is perpetrated by the rich the poor and in between, the educated and the ignorant. No matter--literally no matter. Rapists, in the rare event that they are held to account at all, are given light sentences and freed to victimize again. Even that serial killer who claims to have killed 90 women, a poor man, was convicted of rape early in his "career" and let go to...well, we now know to do what. Rape is an extremely high recidivist crime. The costs to victim, even when not death, are extremely high. When will we, as a supposed advanced society, put an end to this with appropriate and lifelong prison sentences?
Barb (The Universe)
Let's all call our representatives to demand investigation in January. And let's call the leaders like Pelosi and Schiff and other vocal leaders including the amazing new female representatives as well.
Rogan (Los Angeles)
So Clinton, like Trump, was a frequent flier on the Lolita Express... can someone please remind me why so many Democrats still see him in a positive light?
smb (Savannah )
@Rogan Trump is the president NOW, and not almost two decades ago. Epstein had 10 of Trump's phone numbers and Trump publicly praised him. It was Trump who appointed Acosta. Trump boasted about his sexual assaults. The Russian dossier had a sexual accusation as kompromat. We don't know if Epstein's secret recordings wound up in Putin's hands. This is not to excuse Clinton in any way, but Trump is the immediate issue.
Frankster (Paris)
@Rogan The sexual abuse of under-age children is a serious criminal offense. Anyone who does that should be subject to criminal prosecution barred only by the statute of limitations. The facts should certainly be made public, however much it might affect the guilty person's charitable foundation.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Rogan: Bill did not get many invitations to stump for Democratic candidates in the recent election campaign.
jwp-nyc (New York)
It is also relevant and more than worth mentioning that more than one of these girls have given sworn statements that prior to being recruited by Epstein's groomed recruiters they worked for Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago. Nor has Trump hidden his "sharing a taste for beautiful women" with Epstein in recorded public statements. This makes the subsequent appointment of Alexander Accosta all the more optically and legally tainted. These were little girls, but we know that Trump has 'daughter issues' based on his numerous jaw-dropping asides concerning Ivanka. That Alan Dershowitz surfaced as an alleged suspect has long been known and denied by Dershowitz. But, it is one of the major reasons from what I understand for many of the people on Martha's Vineyard shunning him. If Trump is ever confronted with undeniable physical evidence of pederasty, we can be assured that he will deny, deny, and then say, "You knew I was doing it, so you're just as complicit. Everyone does it. No big deal." Trump and Jerry Sandusky seem to share many traits. The early 20th Century scandal was the girl on the swing and ensnared America's foremost architect of the Gilded Age. The 21st Century equivalent looks like it involves bankrupt casino operator turned money launderer developer who bluffed his way into the White House.
njglea (Seattle)
Thank you, Ms. Goldberg, for staying on top of these important corruption items. It is simply mind-boggling that the International Mafia has gotten control of so many critical positions in OUR U. S. Government and Judicial systems. This is the price WE THE PEOPLE pay when WE allow inherited/stolen wealth go unregulated. The most insatiably greedy, corrupt, morally/ethically bankrupt, socially unconscious people in the world take over and destroy. The Good People of Florida must DEMAND that Acosta be fired and prosecuted for abuse of power and that Epstein be sent to prison for life. Even that is too good for these beasts.
db2 (Phila)
The case was settled, according to NBC, with an apology and cash before jury selection.Therefore preventing witnesses from testifying. How sad.
Cruzio (Monterey)
@db2 And who paid the cash? Some dark money Superpac? We will never know.
mary bardmess (camas wa)
Thank you again Ms Goldberg for your powerful voice in these troubled times. I've been wondering for awhile whatever happened to Epstein and his fellow travelers on the Lolita Express. This whole mess needs to be unraveled completely and everyone involved brought into the light and prosecuted. Times up, indeed, I hope it is.
JohnBarleycorn (Virgin Islands)
It's not about Acosta or Trump. It's about billionaire Epstein and the power he holds over all those famous and wealthy powerbrokers he criminally got sexually serviced on his luxury jets, yachts and private islands. He's got them over a barrel just like Putin has Trump. Quid pro quo.
Sparky (NYC)
This story is simply obscene (pun intended). Even in an administration filled with the most corrupt, hypocritical, amoral men and women imaginable, a cabinet secretary who sheltered a serial pedophile from justice stands out. Surely, the sexual abuse and rape of girls and young women isn't a partisan issue? Surely, the Christian conservatives who conveniently look the other way at the outlandish corruption and debauchery of our President and his minions cannot countenance a man who protected and enabled a serial child rapist?
Guido Malsh (Cincinnati)
If/when this becomes a major motion picture, guess who’s going to produce it ...
John Marksbury (Palm Springs)
Why do these things take so long to come out??? This could be an incredible scandal. Here’s a new word to describe the Trump administration. Kakistocracy. It is from the Greek word meaning “worst” and is opposite to “aristocracy.” This happens when government falls into the hands of the worst, most unscrupulous citizens. Where did all of this slime come from? People who belong to the Republican Party, who for decades going back to Reagan don’t believe in federal government and seek to destroy it. Their lust for power however and trashing of our laws know no bounds: viz Wisconsin and North Carolina and the amorality of McConnell and Ryan.
No (SF)
He keeps his job because he is accused but not yet found to be guilty. It turns out, in this America, guilt is determined by the legal system, not irresponsible columnists who make accusations based on supposition and innuendo.
Carole (New Orleans)
This administration is an abomination. Suffering little children and young girls at the hands of sick men.
theresa (new york)
How anyone watching Dershowitz defend Trump and not believe he is comprised is beyond me.
Drew (Durham NC)
...Also, there is nothing funny at all about this story, but one does have to find the irony to be pretty rich. Here are all the wacko "Q-Anon" fools freaking out about an imagined, international child sex-trafficking ring involving thousands and being run from a pizza place, or was it the new Denver airport (so hard to keep the conspiracies straight these days), and they're all going to be arrested by some OSC appointment in Utah or something. Well, here's a REAL international child sex-trafficking ring, proven to be so in court documents, involving many powerful people like Dershowitz, Clinton, a royal (Price William), and yes, Donald Trump as well as many others. In the end it leads to a oddly structured plea deal with a federal prosecutor that somehow silences hundreds? of victims and allows the prep(s)s to get away nearly "Scott Free" as the president would say. Are where does that federal prosecutor end-up? As the secretary of labor for the Trump administration?!? Come 'on Q-Anon folks, here's the very conspiracy theory you have always wanted, and it has ties to a sitting president!!! Don't you think it's funny how Trump seems to be the gravitational center for all these terrible people?
Ron Brown (Toronto)
@Drew Prince Andrew, not William.
Drew (Durham NC)
@Ron Brown Indeed Ron, I was incorrect. I wish I could edit. Thanks for the catch, and sorry Prince William!
SmartCat (Colorado)
@Drew Well said! The sheer absurdity of the Q-Anon stories too is that Donald Trump, of all people, is on some white knight mission to break up pedophile rings of abusers. In the real world, not only is Donald Trump a lifelong sexual predator and indulger, but he has admitted a close friendship with Epstein and their shared love of "beautiful woman" who are also "young". He is the least likely person to be on such a mission, he is the one most likely to be involved in it if was a real story - oh wait, the Epstein story actually is real, and right in there is Donald Trump who has hired the prosecutor that quashed the investigation into Epstein's associates! It's amazing the contortions the rabid Trumpers put themselves in to reimagine Donald Trump into the figure in their imaginations and not the actual Donald Trump. Like how in internet memes and photos they stick his head on the body of some huge muscled body builder, when in reality, Trump is fat and saggy.
Ralphie (Seattle)
Things rot from the head down. Trump surrounds himself with grifters, liars, swindlers, cheats, crooks and criminals, and now apparently a child molester enabler, because that's who he is comfortable with and in fact admires. When one looks at Trump's sleazy comments about his daughter over the years, his disgusting comment to a ten-year-old at Trump Tower ("In ten years I'll be dating you"), his barging into pageant dressing rooms where there are naked young girls and other things he's said it's impossible to escape the idea that not only does he not condemn child molesters it's quite possible he admires them because he either envies them or has emulated them.
Occam's razor (Vancouver BC)
I don't quite remember, but didn't Trump once say "I could sexually molest a 13-year old girl in the middle of 5th avenue and I wouldn't lose any votes?"
zeno (citium)
“Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job?” Simple, Trump views those around him as ballast to be jettisoned when he needs to gain altitude quickly in order to escape....
Mike Jones (Los Angeles)
Why does this article (and most others on this topic) neglect the fact that Trump was directly accused of engaging in rape with Epstein? https://www.snopes.com/news/2016/06/23/donald-trump-rape-lawsuit/
Sam Marcus (New York)
i'm exhausted. no words. no response.
William (Memphis)
Monsters. 20% of all girls in America and 8% of all boys are sexually abused before they are 18. Many more are abused in other horrific ways. Why do we allow this? It’s no wonder we’ve made a toilet of the planet.
Quoth The Raven (Northern Michigan)
In any other administration, this chain of events wouldacosta Labor Secretary his job. Not in this one. The Secretary appears to have come from the same swamp that sheltered Trump's buddy in sexual predation, Jeffrey Epstein, which is why Acosta will probably get away with his sordid history as long as Trump is president. As the old adage goes, birds of a feather...flock...together.
Cruzio (Monterey)
And Trump, knowing full well this entire story about Acosta helping his buddy Epstein years ago, decides that there is no better person to fill the cabinet position? Was this payback to Acosta for some reason?
John Z (Akron, OH)
In addition to outing Acosta’s nauseating role in this sordid affair, how about confronting other major players, like Alan Dershowitz who represented this pedophile and sex addict. Specifically how about the executives, producers and on air talent at CNN, where this man regularly appears, do a piece on this travesty of justice and request Dershowitz’s appearance. And soon. His smug quote I recently read, “we just outlawered him, (Acosta), made me sick. Fine, every accused is entitled to fair and adequate legal representation, but when does ones conscience, after ample time for reflection on the magnitude that Epstein perpetuated, provoke some level of misgiving or contrition from players like Dershowitz for participating in this miscarriage of justice? I suppose I am way too naive to expect that outcome. So sad.
Tony Reardon (California)
And yet the Right Wing Conspiracy fake news "Pizzagate" went so far as to cause an armed intervention. Why didn't they spread this news as well?
Mary (Peoria)
"A last-minute settlement has been reached in Florida in a long-running lawsuit involving a politically connected financier accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls. The deal came Tuesday just before jury selection was to begin, and for now, it means none of the victims of Jeffrey Epstein will be able to testify." https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/04/jeffrey-epstein-settles-suit-testimony-1043176
Mike (NY NY)
And the case was settled with no testimony. This makes it harder for the truth to be known by the public and the victims. Why settle? What was the settlement? I hope this lawyer was not yet another to use these victims for gain. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article222597265.html
DL (Albany, NY)
Trump drained the swamp, and pumped the drainage straight into his administration.
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
Alexander Acosta has nothing to worry about. If he's indicted, he can sue all the way to the Supreme Court. Where Brett Kavanaugh will let Acosta off the hook.
Ambroisine (New York)
As a friend just remkared: as certain priests are drawn to the cloth by virtue of their access to children, so was perhaps Acosta drawn to sex crimes?
Mockingjay (California)
The question is why didn't the news media follow this story to the end. It was widely reported by Politico, Vox, Daily Beast, etc... It implicates Trump, President Clinton, and others. A good investigative journalist should be on this story. Why this story was dropped in the middle of Trump's campaign is uncertain. A woman came forward claiming she was raped by both Epstein and Trump. She received death threats and was clearly afraid for her life. Now we know there have been hundreds, and the FBI, in its investigation, located these women, formerly young girls around the ages of 14-15 in several states across the country and involving high level men, like Trump and former President Clinton. The trial begins today and will have cameras. How Acosta, who gave Epstein this plea deal, even has his job, is a huge deal. All these women have potentially been paid off, had death threats, or had their families threatened. By Epstein and potentially Trump himself. Why did this story disappear, just as the Stormy Daniels story and others? https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/3/13501364/trump-rape-13-year-old-lawsuit-katie-johnson-allegation
Jeff Cohen (New York)
I guess Michelle Goldberg's column scared the Dershowitz-Epstein-Acosta team into quick action to keep the women out of the courtroom. In short, they did it again! This is what happens in this country when you go up against the richest, whitest ad most connected exemplars of white privilege ever. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jeffrey-epstein-wealthy-sex-offender-settles-suit-averting-victim-testimony-today-2018-12-4/
MJ2G (Canada)
Alan Dershowitz, now? And Trump’s “on the younger side” boast. How Melania consents to walk hand in hand with this fire hydrant of cruelty and bitterness is way beyond me.
Melissa Falk (Chicago)
I have been waiting impatiently for decades for this moment of truth concerning Epstein and Acosta and the timing couldn't be more interesting. Among Epstein's many cohorts while he was abusing young girls were Bill Clinton, Donald J. Trump and others whose names may be exposed during the testimony of the now grown women who will appear in court this week. We already know Trump, by his own admissions, loves to peep teenage beauty contestents in their underwear. We already know, by his own admission, how he's been sexualizing his own daughter since she reached puberty. We already know Trump has been accused of sexual assault by over 20 grown women. Pop the corn and pass the Milk Duds! Tick tock.
Rose (St. Louis)
Few reports of crime make me physically ill. This one did. The depravity of men like Epstein, Dershowitz, and Acosta is too much. Too much.
Karen (Cambridge)
I haven't read all the installments yet, but I hope there is mention somewhere of the "Jane Doe" case where there was eyewitness testimony to Trump raping a 13-year-old at one of Epstein's parties.
antiquelt (aztec,nm)
The key here is rich and famous conspirators! This needs to out front page news all across America and the internet! George W Bush will go down as the second worst president ever...but will be vasty over-shadowed by the most corrupt president...trump!
Tricia Y (MA)
I read the Miami Herald report with horror and disgust, reaching the same conclusion as the columnist here: Why does Alex Acosta still have a job? Also, how did one of the other players in this tale of depravity and debauchery, Bruce Reinhardt, formerly a US Attorney who quit to join the defense team for some of Epstein’s co-conspirators, become a federal magistrate judge earlier this year? And where did one of the victims meet the so-called alleged “madam” who introduced here to Epstein? Mar-a-Lago. Common thread through all three questions? Donald J. Trump. Write your senators and congressional representatives. Tell them Acosta’s continued employment is completely unacceptable. Demand accountability for those who victimize the powerless simply because they are rich and powerful. If we don’t stand up for justice, who will? It is quite obvious that those who are supposed to do so, won’t.
Despair (NH)
Well, I suppose this answers the question of whether a man could be so craven that he would turn a blind eye to the predatory criminal behavior of someone simply for power and political gain. Add one more item to the House's agenda come January 3. Memo to House Speaker: Reduce the number of adjournments of the House in 2019 and 2020. There's just too much work to be done.
Gordon Silverman (NYC)
We have come to read exposes like this on a daily basis. The saddest part of this affair, like so many of the others, is that nobody really seems to care. Ms. Goldberg’s headline says it all, WHY, Acosta still has a job let alone any shred of professional dignity left.
Nomi (Ct)
@Gordon Silverman. Just one of the boys club. Don’t forget Trump was accused of rape by a 13 year old. She only dropped the case after she received numerous death threats by some of his more “avid supporters”. Why should Acosta be any different.
Also note that he was able to serve his horrifically light sentence in a county jail, not in a state or federal prison where the inmate population generally looks down on child sex offenders. Just another example how what serves as "justice" in this country is different for the wealthy. "Liberty and Justice for all" should be stricken from the Pledge of Allegiance.
Santo Carbone (Calgary, Alberta)
Someday Americans will learn just how much money Trump made selling cabinet positions. Probably just as much as he made laundering Russian money. He will have plenty of time counting it in his jail cell.
Harold J. (NE Ohio)
That headline is a super-easy question to answer: He still has a job because he works in the Trump association. Simple.
Diogenes (Florida)
When the president's history with women is weighed, it becomes evident that Acosta is just the kind of person he most admires and relates to. It also explains why he most likely will continue his support of this flawed individual. The question in my mind is how this sort always seem to manage to rise to the top. His kind have always been with us, and it is foolish to think it will ever change.
Mike OK (Minnesota)
And not surprised to see Bill Clinton included in this article. The Dems should never allowed that creep back into the limelight
SW (Los Angeles)
Wait! Is this the guy who was really working at pizza-gate? Our right wing conspiracy theorists don’t want to know they had their hearts set on HRC....
bigbill (Oriental, NC)
Now that Democrats will control the House of Representatives, they must investigate this Acosta scandal in great detail to expose everything that happened in this Acosta-generated cover up deal including especially whether Trump was involved in any incidents of child molestation and, not just Trump, but Clinton, Dershowitz, and all the rest as well. Any failure of the House Democrats to fully explore the involvement of every one of Epstein's cronies in this matter in either the molestation of minors or engineering the cover up plea deal will speak volumes as to whether their takeover of the House will mean anything other than business as usual going forward.
Howard Eddy (Quebec)
Keep watching this one. Unless the old boys club is stronger than it seems to have been lately, heads are going to roll. Lawyers are allowed to have unsavoury clients, on the theory that everyone deserves to have the case against them tested in court. Prosecutors are not however supposed to roll over and play dead in the presence of Allan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr -- particularly in the face of a fact pattern such as this one.
Eero (East End)
Apparently this "deal" was done as a non-prosecution agreement because no judge in his/her right mind could ever approve it. Except perhaps our newest Supreme Court Justice, who undoubtedly would believe the men. And don't forget that Trump was sued for rape, where the plaintiff alleged he had raped her when she was 14. That too got hushed up and went away, no record of exactly why she dropped her case. Maybe Michael Cohen knows. Repeated abuse of young women athletes, abuse of women seeking acting parts, harassment and abuse in the workplace. Our culture is diseased, the white men of the Republican party and Congress are complicit. It is indeed time for women to protect each other.
Mockingjay (California)
During Trump's campaign for President, this story was live. It disappeared in the news. The Daily Beast covered it. The plea deal given to Epstein by Acosta not only lets Epstein off the hook, but all the leads by the FBI in other states, which included possibly hundreds of young girls and other involved, are off the hook. Why the Trump connection was never exposed is a question for the media. He and Jeffrey Epstein were accused of raping a young girl. She disappeared. It is likely she was threatened and paid off, just like those that Epstein paid off, and is Trump's customary style. Perhaps Cohen knows a few things about these payoffs. Epstein's connections with high profile men like Trump, Kevin Spacey, Clinton, raise huge questions that demand answers. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-billionaire-pedophile-who-could-bring-down-donald-trump-and-hillary-clinton
Donna (Glenwood Springs CO)
There was an account of a woman who accused candidate Trump of raping her at an Epstien party. I assumed it was either squashed or deemed not credible enough to get traction.
Kelly (Indiana)
It should be noted in this piece that there had been a claim by one of these girls “recruited” by Epstein for potential modeling work, that Donald Trump raped her. She was 13 at the time. Her case was inexplicably dropped in the fall of 2016.
Karen (Cambridge)
@Kelly I agree, this is a critically important piece of news that is being suppressed and needs to be followed up on.
MB (Northern Virginia)
Thank you for writing this article, I have been researching this for two years, not in the Miami article was...Trump attended parties at Epstein’s homes and there are accounts of Trump soliciting Epstein to bring girls to Mar a Lago parties. Trump and Epstein were accused of raping a 13 year old girl, years after a party at Epstein's NYC home. The case was scheduled to be heard in NYC on December 16, 2016, but disappeared off the docket when Trump was elected. Stormy Daniels wrote in her book that she and Trump were watching shark tank in 2007 when he received a call from HRC and they discussed their “plan” (on the heals of Epstein victims filing civil suits) where Daniels writes that Trump assured HRC their plan was still on. My guess was that presidential pardons were on their mind and getting HRC elected. Probably why the ultimate liberal Dershowitz has been defending and advising Trump. Dershowitz, defense lawyer for Epstein used his legalese to bully investigators and victims, and escape scrutiny himself. Virginia Roberts traumatic childhood left her as weak witness, Epstein paid her off and all the rest, innocent people do not spend millions paying off victims. His frequent visitors? Arnold Prosperi (Clinton friend and recipient of a presidential pardon) and a Russian guy. Law360 (August 22, 2018, 7:17 PM EDT) -- Shareholders filed a putative class action against financier, billionaire and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein...for a $473 M Ponzi scheme.
Jim Muncy (& Tessa)
I know 45 and his minions are corrupt and ethics-free, but as a three-time Clinton voter, I am upset anew at their possible involvement in and knowledge of rape island. Did Bill, in fact, go there? If so, I assume Hillary knew. Boggles the mind. I voted for these people. Did I misjudge them by that much? I know: innocent until proven guilty, but, as in this case, justice is not always carried out. Which leaves us guessing. Now I'll take these doubts and concerns to my grave, I suppose. (That sex thing sure is a recurring problem for many of us, perhaps all of us. Who knows what people keep hidden? I can see why Freud thought that human nature was "basically worthless." That was his superego talking, but it had a point.)
Angry (The Barricades)
And people said the Franklin Credit Scandal was a hoax...
Clark Landrum (Near the swamp.)
"On the younger side"? A rather casual comment attributed to Trump about child rape. This gets more and more unbelievable.
Jay Orchard (Miami Beach)
Why does he still have a job? Because the ignorant masses assume he's related to Jim Acosta and firing him would appear to be an attack on freedom of the press.
manfred marcus (Bolivia)
Alex Acosta is still employed, in spite of his complicity with a molester of multiple children, most likely because Trump himself is a sexual predator, hence, sees nothing wrong with this crisis of morals. And where are the republicans, with their loud silence about this awful injustice? Is this what male supremacy and their impunity looks like? But, abusing children, however defenseless they may be? This is a crime, and both Epstein and Acosta ought to pay dearly for it.
Paul Drake (Not Quite CT)
I never heard or used the word "kakistocracy" until the Trump administration. They are it's living, breathing definition. Also: I think it's past time MSNBC, CNN and Fox News drop Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz from their roster of contributors. While everyone is entitled to the best possible legal defense, what Acosta, Starr, Dershowitz et al did to these girls is a crime in itself, or should be.
Beyond Concerned (Berkeley, CA)
I normally don’t filter things so simply, but: This is classic white male power & entitlement at its absolute worst.
Carl Lee (Minnetonka, MN)
Why is it so many of Trump's appointees look like flies drawn . . . That's not the right tone, I'll start over. Why does Trump pick people whose background makes him look like he's a fool walking around with a couple feet of toilet paper stuck to the bottom of his shoe? The sad part is no one says anything to him.
Mfreed (New Jersey)
It seems that anything short of murder is allowable in the Trump administration. However, I expect that when Trump goes fully Fascist, murder might be on his list of things to do.
Richard Mclaughlin (Altoona PA)
Actually, America hasn't been a Christian nation for ever, if ever. It's important to understand the fundamental differences between the Gospel and the Constitution. All men are created equally both in Scripture and the Constitution, but there the differences begin to glare. Spiritually we are all equally fallen, in the Constitution we are all equally entitled. So why does Secretary Acosta still have a job? Because we are going about to establish our own righteousness, and Trump has deemed him righteous.
Kathleen (Dallas)
Just when you think this administration cannot possibly be any more corrupt something happens to change your mind. This absolutely does it. I am so exhausted from the shenanigans, the greed, and the morally bankrupt behavior of this Trump Administration, that I am anxiously awaiting the report from the Mueller Investigation. This report needs to finish this entire administration, once and for all. I am also seriously hoping that the 2016 election can somehow be declared null and void and that our very concerned citizens and voters could vote once again on a president, who will act as a real president, and not as a rich authoritative tyrant, who seems bent on taking away our entire system of government and completely destroying it.
Perdissa (Singapore)
This is like Pizzagate, but the conspiracy theorists got their suspects wrong (except maybe for Bill). This year, truth has been as exciting as fiction.
Jon (Scarborough, Canada)
@Perdissa Care to elaborate? No, I didn't think so.
Drew (Durham NC)
If you ever wonder about what the absolute power of wealth concentration does to a class (in this case the US elites) one need look no further than this story. The super-rich and their fawning sycophants avarice and greed know no limits, and apparently, no punishment either. Trump, Acostsa, Wittaker, Shine, Ross, Mnuchin, Broidy and so many other names from this criminal administration and others in the 1% seem not only to avoid punishment for their crimes, but are actually awarded with "public servant" positions where they continue to profit on the backs of people who are not afforded a living wage, cannot buy education, live off toxic food, can't own a house, and cannot afford a decent level of medical care. We should have a true estate tax. The country was started to avoid this type of "royal" behavior. Tell me, how exactly is this case of people, who are beholden to no one, accountable to no law, and able to pass their wealth and power directly to their children any different from Kings and Queens and Dukes and Duchesses? Take a moment and think about it. Looking at the Epstein case, I would say we've failed spectacularly. We may not call them a monarchy, but make no mistake that we're all subject's to the whims, taxes, and selective laws of our rulers.
Truth Seeker (Ca)
@Drew At least Monarchy often eventually paid for their arrogant behavior. Witness the Magna Charta and the slimey King John. Or the execution of Charles the First of England then poor old Louis guillotined in France, possibly really paying for the earlier excesses of former ‘Sun King. Others were surreptitiously murdered, in often most gruesome ways. Today, however, it seems some can STILL get an ndeserved pass?
Jean (Cleary)
Is it possible that Acosta was part of the action? Perhaps he got "massaged" as well. Just when I think things cannot get more disgusting in the Trump Administration, it turns out I am so wrong. It sounds as if Acosta should be investigated to see if he was part of this perversion, not just fired.
Dore (san francisco)
There are so many things about Trump and his acolytes that are disturbing, I sometimes forget that he had been accused of assaulting a 13 year old, who recanted after saying her and her family were threatened. I know this is taboo to mention, but considering Stormy Daniels said someone threatened her and her family as well, and Trump has made comments about being lurid towards young teens at his pageants and his own daughter, it creates an extremely disturbing picture. If Trump was compromised, this is what would be true leverage, because it would take him down.
Karen (Cambridge)
@Dore I tried adding information about this case to the Wikipedia article "Donald Trump sexual misconduct allegations" but the moderators have locked the article. Considering that this is factual news about a lawsuit filed in court, I wonder who is suppressing it?
AWG (nyc)
Epstein was believed to have a "treasure trove" of comprising video tapes from his "parties" at his NYC townhouse. In 2016, the woman who helped him procure young girls stated under oath that Trump had raped a 14 year old at one of these parties. The criminal case was dropped for "lack of evidence" and the woman dropped her civil suit after many threats on her and her attorneys' during the early stages of the 2016 campaign. Is it any wonder that Epstein has received preferential treatment in the courts?
James Osborne (Los Angeles)
Do you whether the woman who testified under oath did so in court or at a deposition? Is there a transcript?
mother of two (IL)
There is someone else who is involved in this grotesque miscarriage of justice--the judge who approved this arrangement between Acosta and Epstein. I'd like to know who that person was. Such irony that Ken Starr was involved in this deal. Do none of these men have daughters? I hope Acosta and Epstein end up in jail; the judge should be sanctioned as well.
Jason (Chicago)
Hiring happens in a very small place. You hire those you know or those recommended to you by those you know. Often you have a lot in common with the people you hire. It's why it's so difficult for people of color and women to get chosen lead large corporations or for appointed roles in government. Trump is a low-integrity, self-aggrandizing criminal. That he hires the same should be a surprise to no one.
Jay M (San Antonio)
If you believe, as I very strongly do, that Acosta should not hold any form of public office (currently, Secretary of Labor and being considered for Attorney General of the United States), contact your Senators and Congresspersons to investigate Acosta.
Aaron Cohen (Seattle, WA)
Uh, based on this op-ed’s premise maybe we should also be asking why does Kamala Harris still have a job? That is if you don’t think attorney generals should be allowed to deny justice to victims of predators because they have been paid off. Kamala Harris Steve Mnuchin- look it up.
Paul Dwyer (NJ)
It looks like Acosta was paid off, compromised and/or threatened in some way. There's no reasonable explanation for his actions. Thanks for shedding light on this. I hope the civil case can expose what happened.
tanstaafl (Houston)
For once I agree with you 100% Ms. Goldberg.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
Prosecutorial indiscretion plagues the USA. One wonders what part of the US justice system is not on the take.
RT1 (Princeton, NJ)
I was stunned when I watched the Rachel Maddow show. He did what...? And received a powder puff "punishment" for it..? Is this not the definition of a conspiracy to cover up a crime with, in this case, a federal prosecutor at the head of it? How Acosta can hold his head up is beyond me. Maybe he thought resigning as a prosecutor relieved him of guilt as party to this debauch of school girls but to further the crime by calling the girls prostitutes in a legal sleight of hand is just staggering. It reflects the power that money holds. Acosta likely foresaw his career evaporating if he did not cave to a room full of wealthy attorneys for a wealthy client. In the end that is probably exactly what will happen anyway, only in this case he won't even have his reputation to fall back on.
EricR (Tucson)
This is a perversion of justice on a scale and of a depth so immense that it should make everyone queasy. Let's start with underage girls being labeled as prostitutes, the sealing of the proceedings and the prison release for a sex offender against all policies and rules. Consider the size of the conspiracy this exposes, then consider the names of the alleged other co-conspirators. One can expect a very vigorous (and expensive) legal fight which should be covered in painstaking detail by the NYT and other media until all the offenders and conspirators are in prison. These women, and girls, deserve their day, their vindication. Can someone tell me how Ms. Roberts came to know Prince Andrew? Or where and when the photo was taken? Every one of these miscreants deserves a perp walk and a life of misery in lockup. I trust Mr. Acosta will find himself in good company in the exercise yard, if they ever let them out of solitary.
DG (Santa Fe, NM)
This story is so revealing and shocking! It is amazing what a Trump administration (that gathers all the horribly unethical and wealthy scoundrels) has done to actually put these people in the national spotlight so those of us who do not live in their communities can become aware of their actions. Really a "Lolita Express"?? How horrible for these young girls! Time for these people to be arrested no matter who they are. We need our freedom of the press more than ever now. Thank you Michelle and Miami Herald for giving light to this awful story. So glad smart enlightened women are now being elected to more offices.
nydoc (nyc)
Yes this is totally disgusting. But show me a prosecutor, and I'll show you someone worse than a criminal. Right within walking distance of the NYT building, we have our own Cyrus Vance, who got in purely on his family name. Cyrus Vance decided not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein years ago, even with a taped confession of sexual assault. Instead this is the same guy who prosecuted Abacus Bank, because they were Chinese and more likely to roll over. He routinely does Goldman Sachs bidding, prosecuting the Russian coder (made famous by Michael Lewis' article). Amazingly, trillions of dollars of wealth were lost during the 2008 crisis. Not a single human being was prosecuted in NYC or in the nation. Message: The rich and the politically connected are always protected. These prosecutors engage in behavior that is so egregious as to be unbelievable. Above all, there is never any accountability. Alex Acosta is no worse than the usual group of District Attorneys.
Alexander Harrison (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
"Entre parentheses," Ms. Goldberg,Epstein is also a great friend of former President Clinton, allegedly the recipient of favors from him, a fact that you note only "en passant!" But why are you not focusing on the crisis in California, of the despair of middle class folk made homeless through no fault of their own, plus the double tragedy of the thousands of survivors from the Campfire, many with nowhere to sleep, even eat, having difficulty caring for their pets. 1 woman, 73, is at a loss to provide for herself and her dog, Princess. These folks could use your help, so instead of focusing on the alleged corruption of the Trump admin., which interests only a minority of folks, but on the big picture, the crisis in California and on ways in which you and your colleagues could help. That 73 year old and Princess would be grateful for your assistance. Does anybody really care at this point about Alex Acosta, Jeff Epstein and Bill Clinton? Why not give it a rest, and concentrate on helping the down and out in our largest state?God will thank you, as will that 73 year old woman and her pet if you are able to get in touch with them.
Frau Greta (Somewhere in NJ)
There are plenty of others who have taken up that cause, in this and other news outlets. I read articles about the fires in CA and I read political pieces in this paper. Journalists focus on their own areas of interest and expertise. Michelle Goldberg’s focus happens to be on politics. Just because she doesn’t write about it, it doesn’t mean no one else has. I, for one, happen to be interested in the bigger picture (corruption) as well as the smaller picture (what happens in our lives at the individual level) and can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Alexander Harrison (Wilton Manors, Fla.)
@Frau Greta:It's not enough to be "interested," but rather your focus should be on doing something tangible to help those in need. MG, NK make a good living describing the plight of others, victimhood, but like so many of those on the left, never do anything to solve the problem!NK spent time in the south Sudan, confronted the Janjaweed militia, met with the sole doctor there at the time who faced the uphill battle of caring for thousands amidst starvation, danger, and did so with outdated equipment. N K might have stayed longer to assist the physician, contribute monetarily, sponsor a needy family for visas, perhaps even also a starving animal whom he could have brought to the states so that the poor creature might have known some years of happiness, but to my knowledge he did none of those things. Now we have 2 crises in California and to my my knowledge not 1 of the social justice warriors at the Times newspaper cares enough to go out there and pitch in for several weeks or so.So where is the substance?"Ou en est la matiere?"
Steve Burton (Staunton, VA)
This is one of the most disturbing and outrageous miscarriages of justice in my memory. It once again illustrates the victimization of women at the hands of wealthy, powerful, men, with the addded twist that these young women were actually underage girls. The Justice Department remain complicit with this heinous crime and Trump's elevation of Acosta is despicable. This should be a call to arms of all law abiding decent people of our country.
John (Baldwin, NY)
If I were investigating Mr. Acosta, I would check what kind of cars he and his family were driving prior to this shady maneuvering, and after. If possible, review his tax returns, and those of his immediate family. This underhanded deal was not done out of the goodness of Mr. Acosta's heart. This would certainly not be done for a regular guy. Was Mr. Acosta a frequent guest to Mr. Epstein's underage parties?
rwgat (santa monica)
Yes to this! The Epstein story keeps coming up and then going down, as media silence surrounds it - in contrast to, say, the OJ. Simpson story. But it needs to be made public. Questions should be asked that you don't ever see asked. For instance, why was Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein's girlfriend during the time when he was most active recruiting underage girls, invited to Chelsea Clinton's wedding? Why didn't Harvard give back the money Epstein donated to them? Why was Epstein, after he got out of play prison, able to so easily ingratiate himself with socialites and a bevy of chauvinistic scientists? Where did his money come from? All bits and pieces that fall into media silence. Time is up!
freshginger (Minneapolis)
We can only hope that the victims/survivors who were horribly abused by this predatory monster have the fortitude and resources to bring a whopping class action lawsuit against him. As someone who was raped by a man with great power over me, I understand the fear and shame of coming out of that dark closet. But the rage and anger that comes from being betrayed in that way can be very useful in fueling a demand for justice. Just like the survivors who have banded together to sue the Catholic Church, the young women in this case should go after this creep with the full force of the courts behind them. Sell your stories to People magazine, get out there in front of this and demand to be heard.
Charles E Owens Jr (arkansas)
I knew when donnie the boy king said that line, that he had inside info, it wasn't something he'd think twice about, until someone reminded him that the inside info could come back and bite him too, so mums the word, suddenly. He is a nob boss acting as president, even worse is that the country has had lot of dirty laundry in the semi public Eye for so long people just expect it, That is not how we should be running the nation. It bodes ill that we are at the end of Empire in all this. Woe to those who forget.
Tony Reardon (California)
Further to my earlier comment re Pizzagate.: Income inequality is at the root of just about all the problems here. Back before globalization and the Internet, it was difficult to become rich enough to control a whole political party or government. Now with the whole world open as a market due to (free) social media, there is almost no upper bound to how rich some folk can become. And those who are that rich can buy almost any individual, no matter how high in government or politics or the justice systems they are. The standard fix for too much income inequality traditionally is a fair and just progressive tax system. And destroying that is always the target of those at the top. I don't know if we can get back to democracy again.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
The principal reason politicians are interested in money is for campaign donations. They are willing to give up moral values, even democracy itself, to win election, so they can collect more money. The only way to get such people out of government is to take the money out. We need mandatory public campaign financing now.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Occupy Government: We need a formal public vetting process all candidates must comply with to get onto official ballots.
Occupy Government (Oakland)
@Steve Bolger we'd have to amend the constitution, which sets eligibility requirements. silly founders actually thought voters were smart enough to peg charlatans.
Chris Morris (Idaho)
"other powerful people who took part " That will be the real interesting list, no? I can knock together a pretty good probable list. There will be some names on it that should surprise no one.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@Chris Morris: Procuring is both a way to do favors and to conduct blackmail.
Lynn (New York)
The question that intrigues me is not why Acosta still has this Trump administration job, but why he got the job. Someone (Epstein? Powerful Florida Republican?) may have had leverage over him ( his own past? Promise for the future?) when Acosta gifted Epstein the plea deal, but that dealing then handed Acosta leverage over others. The deal was beneath contempt, but if Acosta speaks out about who pressured and who rewarded him....? And it’s hard to imagine that a Florida-based sex ring exploiting underage girls did not interact wit Mar-a-Lago..... May all the young women who were tortured be given the power to extract the fullest measure of justice from all those who kidnapped, trafficked and raped them
Peter Crane (Seattle)
One of the lawyers who brokered Epstein’s sweetheart deal with Acosta was Kenneth Starr. It is easy to see why Epstein would have wanted him as part of his team: Starr had once hired Acosta for his law firm, Kirkland and Ellis, and been his mentor there. What is harder to understand is why someone so severely judgmental when it came to Bill Clinton’s consensual affair with a non-minor would choose to use his talents to keep a serial child rapist from going to prison. Epstein received the mere pretense of a jail sentence, under a plea bargain that branded four of his many accusers as prostitutes and ensured that the rest would have no chance to be heard. These girls, some as young as thirteen, were victims twice over, betrayed by a justice system that favored a multimillionaire with powerful friends and well-connected lawyers over the children he had raped. Did these fine lawyers think at all about what it would do to these girls to learn that despite all the evidence against him, Epstein had for all practical purposes escaped justice?
sdavidc9 (Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut)
@Peter Crane Starr's ethical concerns are revealed by the Baylor events. Starr was a Republican and Clinton was a Democrat who had ended the reign of St. Ronnie's entourage; Starr was severely judgmental about that, but he needed something that the public would accept in order to get Clinton, and kept grubbing around until he found it. In the end, though, it wasnt enough.
Rich Pein (La Crosse Wi)
@Peter Crane Ken Starr, that name resurfaces and is always associated with sleazy sexual cases. From Bill Clinton’s escapade to the football scandals at Baylor University, to this South Florida nightmare, Ken Starr is always around the action. What is up Ken.
nurseJacki (ct.USA)
@petercrane..... Do any of these crooks defiling innocence have their own families. ? How can they look their kids in the eye after representing sexual predators in cahoots with trump. Wasn’t Melaina an escort on visa once......
Mike Bonnell (Montreal, Canada)
I stumbled upon the Miami Herald account of this nightmare story a few days ago. If the allegations prove correct - and they sure seem believable - this story rivals, and I believe surpasses, the Weinstein and Cosby cases in terms of sheer heinousness and depravity. Not only that, but it links directly to the current US Secretary of Labor. Can somebody explain to me, how it is that such a serious matter, that might implicate such high placed people, has yet to be front page headline news in the major national papers? How about on cable news networks? One can only assume that many many powerful people are covering for, and protecting Epstein. Either that, or they are somehow implicated and protecting themselves. Decadence. Decadence and depravity seem to know no bounds, among the American 1%. Shame on them all. Thanks Ms. Goldberg for trying to bring a bit of attention to this story.
Ann (California)
@Mike Bonnell-Agreed. I hope the coverage is picked up and covered more widely in the news media. All of the Miami Herald's terrific investigative series should be required reading: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article214210674.html Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article219494920.html
Cloudy (San Francisco)
@Mike Bonnell The Epstein affair has been well known for years, and discussed often by David Icke, Alex Jones, and Jeff Rense, among others. It's only the mainstream media that refused to touch it - until they realized it could be linked to Trump.
Henry (Durango)
@Mike Bonnell Yes, it seems logical to conclude that all those people who acted to assist or shield Epstein must themselves be implicated. It cannot be that there was incompetence, since these people are still in high places.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
This whole case is astounding, and will be covered live in court starting tomorrow. Rachel Maddow, who covered this in full tonight, compared this to the scandals in the Catholic Church, where pedophilia was covered up by Catholic Church hierarchy. Substitute 'rich powerful men' for Catholic Church hierarchy and you get an idea of Acosta's motives, as a "rising Republican legal star." Powerful men protecting other powerful men from inconvenient exposure of what amounts to serial child sex offenses. One of the problems of inadequate vetting of lower level court appointments is that things can explode much later, when the "rising star" is suddenly a cabinet member. It's poetic justice that victims have filed suit against Acosta's sweetheart deal for Epstein that also mysteriously covered other possible members of Epstein's scheme. Acosta may have thought Epstein was worth protecting, but I wonder how he feels now that his career is about to blow up?
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@ChristineMcM, one objection: I doubt that "vetting of lower level court appointments" had anything to do with it. First, Acosta wasn't a judge. Second, although a judge was surely involved, I think it's usually relatively easy to get through the vetting early on, and then some will become more and more corrupt with time and connections.
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
@Thomas Zaslavsky: By "vetting court appointments" I should have said, "judiciary appointments," because Acosta was appointed as Federal Prosecutor for the district of Miami--not a judge. Had he been chosen more carefully, Maddow implied, he might not have made it, as his judicial acumen had some holes. As we clearly see. I guess prosecutors have some leeway in applying the law, particularly when pressured by rich, powerful locals who also happen to move in powerful political circles.
L'historien (Northern california)
@ChristineMcM . not only his career, but his finances as well due to massive legal fees!!!!!! YES!!!
DW (New Hampshire)
The perpetrators and enablers need to have the full light of justice laser focused on this case. I don't care what political party affiliation anyone has, if they were involved with this it's time to have the facts presented and, if guilty, the punishment meted.
susan mohr (tampa fl)
It appears this would have come across FL AG Pam Bondi's radar. High profile case, very rich and powerful man. I find it hard to believe that neither she or Gov. Rick Scott knew about this.
WPCoghlan (Hereford,AZ)
As has been made clear, the gaping hole in the story is why. Acosta was a rising republican star? It would seem that he could have seriously raised his profile by bringing down a bunch of high profile powerful creeps. Wouldn't the family values base just have eaten that up? If he was scared off by our home grown oligarchs that would certainly be unnerving. It would seem more likely that cash or promises crossed the table. I'm counting on the press and/or Congress to finish the puzzle. Acosta is a perfect fit for this cabinet, and certainly leaps ahead of Zinke, DeVos and Nielsen as worst current member.
lusimo (seattle)
Why does he still have a job? Because many others flew on the Lolita Express - maybe even the Stable Genius himself. These men like to be able to keep an eye on those who know their secrets.
reid (WI)
Where was the judge who approved this slimy sentence? Even if prosecutors and the defendent are in cahoots (or bed together) there is no automatic rubber stamping of the incredible deal this molester received. The judge is able to reject any deal, and impose the sentence that meets guidelines for imprisonment and forfeiture of jets and property associated with the felonious behavior. Yet there is no word of who the judge is, or any of the details at sentencing.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
He is a perfect member of the Trump Administration. Just perfect and I’m sure the evangelicals are enthralled by his holiness also!
marco (ny)
@Justice Holmes Let's Not forget the holiness of Kenneth Starr.
Andy (Salt Lake City, Utah)
The Miami Herald also reported Virginia Roberts was working as an employee at Mar-a-Lago when she was recruited to Epstein's sex abuse scheme. The link between Trump and Epstein is not just hypothetical. Even if Trump never engaged in pedophilia or sex abuse in relation with Epstein, he still would have emerged as one of those celebrity names caught up in the scandal. Chances are Trump did engage though. Trump's silence against Clinton is obvious evidence of Trump's involvement. Acosta's current employment is a thank you note for keeping everything quiet. His name was even floated as a replacement for Jeff Sessions. Acosta's continued presence demands investigation. If he really is interested in protecting Epstein's unnamed co-conspirators, Acosta would simply resign. Fortunately, Jane Doe v. United States is a jury trial with victims as witnesses. I don't think the United States has a chance of holding up against the Crimes' Victims Act. Acosta's plea deal, designed by Epstein's lawyers, is likely to be declared illegal. He never informed the victims. I guess he wasn't such a good fixer after all.
Louis J (Blue Ridge Mountains)
Michelle's first sentence is the headline. Now understand that we all have the responsibility to do something about it. We are all responsible for this situation. Hold the politicians to a standard of absolute truth and honesty. Hold the press to a standard of absolute truth and honesty. Hold your self to a standard of absolute truth and honesty. Don't let corruption bring down the democratic freedoms this country was once known for. We are all responsible.
Christian Haesemeyer (Melbourne)
No way are Democrats going to investigate this, given there can be very little doubt some of their own were involved.
Dunca (Hines)
It is unfathomable that Alex Acosta was promoted to Labor Secretary under President Trump while during the same period of the grass roots movement, #MeToo, Senator Al Franken was coerced to resign from his legislative duties. Hmmmm, comparing rotten tomatoes to day old arugula. This is how differently the two parties, Republicans and Democrats, view the seriousness of sexual trafficking. Personally, I am still upset that Sen. Franken resigned because I don't feel that some clownish acts before he was even Senator were seriousness enough, especially given the fact that the women accusing is a known GOP operative. If it is true that Epstein was responsible for trafficking under age girls to powerful men including Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, the public has a right to no. This personally would be the nail in the coffin for both men's reputations, as knowingly having sex with an underage girl is a bridge to far, I believe, even for die hard MAGA supporters. The first step is for the trial this month to take its course. If it is true that Alex Acosta swept the case against Epstein under the making sure that that he received a sweetheart deal, then the careers of the most powerful will be given a death sentence. Indeed, Time is Up if our country is still functioning under the semblance of law and order, rather than just a gauzy appearance of Democracy under which Plutocracy reigns supreme.
AWebb (Virginia)
It has gotten to the point that nothing surprises me anymore with this administration, but this one takes the cake. If only everyone was treated the same disregarding money and power, this guy would be in a deep dark cell being treated to the same atrocities as he did to these young girls by his fellow inmates. It will all come out eventually.
Rita Harris (NYC)
It is well accepted that DJT has appointed the swamp to protect himself. however, the part I don't get is how the holier than thou Mike Pence can continue as the VP. Talk about the fish rots from the head and then goes straight to the tail. America was never great when such behaviors were considered ok. MAGA, really?
d1010g (Minnesota)
The swamp hasn't even been drained, simply turned into a cesspool. Congress hasn't enough time to investigate all of the obvious cases, much less those requiring true investigation to uncover. Immorality is no longer a measure. The only question asked by this administration is whether something is clearly illegal. No? Then go for it!
Ex Catholic (Gettysburg PA)
Why print Dershowitz's defense? He and Ken Starr colluded with Acosta, and there is plenty of evidence to indicate why they would. We now have a pretty good idea as to why he has been defending Trump. And why no mention of Trump's own links to Epstein? Fifteen women have gone on record to say that Trump sexually assaulted them. This includes one of Epsteins victims, who was 13 at the time. The Katie Johnson case got dropped just before the election, under very suspicious circumstances.
TE (Seattle)
Ms. Goldberg, it appears that Mr. Trump's connection to Mr. Epstein went a bit deeper than just a passing friendship. https://www.scribd.com/doc/316341058/Donald-Trump-Jeffrey-Epstein-Rape-Lawsuit-and-Affidavits?irgwc=1&content=10079&campaign=Skimbit%2C%20Ltd.&ad_group=33330X1169095X6dba162cea1f9939e661fd64b79a1020&keyword=ft750noi&source=impactradius&medium=affiliate#fullscreen The lawsuit was filed twice, then ultimately dropped in lieu of multiple threats made against the woman's life by devotees of Trump. Such a lovely group of "Real Americans". So why did Acosta give Epstein a pass? Does it really matter Ms. Goldberg? There is the justice you can buy and the justice the vast majority of us will never be able to afford and Mr. Epstein is both quite rich and obviously very well connected. Money does move in mysterious ways in today's America and for all you know, Mr. Epstein could have given his rapturous approval of Mr. Acosta to Donald Trump personally. The question is who is not under investigation in his cabinet and family. Perhaps Tiffany and Barron. For now.
emac (toronto)
Ms. Goldberg, this is an excellent column; it reminds me why I have a subscription.
Pam G (Portage, Mich.)
Procuring young girls for old men is usually something tasked to street criminals. The Me Too movement has exposed the rot at the top, which is good, but this has been going on at all levels for a very long time. Powerful men close ranks and protect each other. During the campaign a young woman accused 45 of raping her while she was at a famous financier's party. Was that financier Epstein? She withdrew her complaint after receiving death threats. I thought at the time that the story rang true but would likely never come to light.
Kinnan O'Connell (Larchmont, NY)
Michelle, the opening sentence is one of the best I have ever read. Thank you for this piece. Keep it up.
Carol (Key West, Fla)
What has happened to the Republican Party? There seems to be nothing too low or unethical for this group. Is power the grand prize, that all morality is trampled beneath their feet? What good is total power when everything is incinerated to ashes?
dukesphere (san francisco)
@Carol Sadly, this sort of thing is but one natural consequence of power consolidated in the hands of the few. Here's hoping media attention to the trial down in Palm Beach will shed some much needed sunlight on the depravity such power enables and serve as a lesson on the real costs of enabling the oligarchs of the world and their sycophants.
Joseph Thomas (Reston, VA)
This is an absolutely disgusting tale. Not only for what was done to children but for the fact that it was covered up by officials of our government. The time is coming when we must decide what kind of country we really are. If we believe that we are a country ruled by laws based on a moral code, then we must begin to act as one. And begin to clean house.
21st Century White Guy (Michigan)
In the U.S., people like Epstein avoid real accountability. That's how this country works. Just look at the fawning coverage of George H. W. Bush, a notorious war criminal, over the past couple days. He is responsible for probably hundreds of thousands of innocent people killed, disappeared, imprisoned, tortured, etc., but he wrote a nice letter to Clinton once, so yeah...
Alan D (New York)
Alex Acosta is emblematic of Trump's determination to drain the swamp in Washington and create a cesspool instead. However, it is easy to see Trump's admiration for a prosecutor who could and would protect a vile child molester. No wonder there is talk about him for AG. Ideally the DOJ should be investigating Alex Acosta, he must have gotten something for that performance.
Barbara Snider (Huntington Beach, CA)
I can’t help thinking of the rumors of Trump’s sexual deeds. Birds of the feather flock together. More lies for our consideration. I have to wonder, what is the point of these people’s lives? They all seem so horrible.
Barb (Seattle)
Unbelievably disgusting. I am beginning to think they should all be in jail....for life. Really, how low are we going to go?
Bill Cullen, Author (Portland)
This type of collusion by men in power knows no political boundaries; it is a club that truly understands it's survival relies on inclusion. In both fiction and in real life, the black books of famous madams always had one thing in common; enough diversity to ensure the safety of the house of ill repute. Until a bible thumping reformist came along and cleared out the house. But again the perpetrators, because of their sheer volume, would always produce someone with some leverage over a judge. And in the meantime they would figure on the pressure points on the reformer and apply them. In this case it will be very hard for this to progress because Epstein was smart enough to pull in as many powerful men as he could and whenever necessary; even entrap them. Putin and Russian intelligence are not the only guys with kompramat on our leaders. Private enterprise has been at work as well and we all know how efficient market forces can be... So in the process of protecting Bill Clinton who else has been given the hands off treatment. I bet that Epstein's black book will never be published. But good luck to the victims; I hope you find some justice and some solace in that.
Michele (Cleveland OH)
@Bill Cullen, Author Yes, but you missed the point Bill. It isn't Bill Clinton who would have been embarrassed. The world already knows the depths of his sexual depravity. It's those unnamed men who have even more to lose. If the incoming Democratic majority in the House has any claim to govern morally the corrupt Acosta will be at the top of the list.
Retep (San Francisco)
This story is no where to be found in the WSJ. Not a single column inch. Shows the FOX propaganda machine has no soul. But we already knew that.
theresa (new york)
@Retep I'm not seeing it on CNN either where Dershowitz has a frequent berth as Trump defender.
Greg (Baltimore)
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
Gabbyboy (Colorado)
Did the Senate vett Acosta before they confirmed him...I can only conclude it wasn’t careful or critical and/or they knew and simply didn’t care; young girls don’t vote. The Senate is so deep in sleaze they didn’t notice that Acosta was covered with it.
Theo D (Tucson, AZ)
“For reason$ that are not entirely clear, Aco$ta took extraordinary measure$ to let Ep$tein — and, crucially, other unnamed per$on$ — off the hook.”
Memphrie et Moi (Twixt Gog and Magog)
When I read this morning's Haaretz I understood how this could happen and how much more often it may happen in the future. https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/u-s-government-broadcaster-apologizes-to-soros-for-multimillionaire-jew-report-1.6703988 Your government has failed you but it wasn't by accident.
Samm (New Yorka )
I'm speechless! A Florida mansion and the "Lolita Express". Hmmm.
Jeff Cohen (New York)
This explains why Dershowitz is all over the place defending Trump. Trump has the goods on him. He needs to be banned from cable and everywhere else.
RDG (Cincinnati)
Just another reprobate, albeit an especially nauseating one, in the Trump cabinet.
JM (San Francisco)
Outstanding reporting Julie Brown, NYTimes and Rachel Maddow! Do not let this horrendous story get lost in the Trump “bombshell” of the day. Acosta and his sick, powerful cohorts need to be held accountable! Calling “MeToo”!
Joshua Schwartz (Ramat-Gan, Israel)
"including Bill Clinton, a frequent passenger on Epstein’s private plane, nicknamed the “Lolita Express.” Was there a problem with commercial airlines. Or why was Mr. Clinton a frequent flyer with Epstein Airlines? I doubt it was the snacks.
Garden Girl (Gilbert, AZ)
My former brother in law was sentenced to LIFE IN PRISON for sexual contact with a teenaged girl in Florida. Of course he was just a nobody with no powerful rich friends. That’s how justice works in America and we all just sit here, shake our heads, and shrug our shoulders. I hope this creep gets taken down big time and I hope all his creeper friends go down with him, including Acosta.
Paul Wortman (Providence, RI)
Jeffrey Epstein is the latest privileged pedophile to be revealed since Larry Nasser. And like he deserves to be locked up, and those who covered up for him like Alexander Acosta deserve to be fired, if not tried for legal malpractice. Like the Nasser case dozens of young women have already come forward to accuse him of raping them when they were under-age, and then having their legal rights under the Crime Victims Act willfully ignored by Mr. Acosta when a secret deal was arranged with Mr. Epstein. A new trial is now underway and Mr. Acosta is on political trial along with it. He must resign!
Sophocles (NYC)
Kalief Browder spent three years on Riker Island for allegedly stealing a backpack. He later committed suicide. Jeffrey Epstein, not so much. Thank you Alexander Acosta.
JR80304 (California)
Acosta should be investigated. In the Reagan years, I never have could dreamed that conservatives this despicable would have a stranglehold on the country, nor that the Christian Right--so morally self-righteous, back then--would lend these creeps such faithful support. I only hope our dedicated law enforcement professionals have the wherewithal to mop up this foul mess.
Rob Campbell (Western Mass.)
Dang! clicked too soon, I thought this was about that guy from CNN.
cherrylog754 (Atlanta, GA)
"Acosta..... short-circuited the federal investigation, letting Epstein plead guilty to two felony prostitution charges" Just follow the money. It will lead you to the why of it. Looking forward to the House in 2019. Great stuff for an investigation by the Democratic controlled Judiciary Committee.
expat (Japan)
You've answered your own question: "he short-circuited an investigation into sex abuse accusations against the financier Jeffrey Epstein"...
CW (Left Coast)
Just when I think I've exhausted my capacity for disgust with the vile corruption of this administration ...
Skeptical M (Cleveland, OH)
Follow the money.
kathy (SF Bay Area)
I have to wonder what Epstein has on Acosta. There are so many creeps out there that it wouldn't surprise me at all if every third one didn't find an equivalent slimeball to blackmail.
RC (Houston)
I am as Democratic as they come but if Bill Clinton is in any way credibly connected to this filth, then I fully support a thorough investigation and any potential jail time and will be the first to chant "Lock Him Up!" This is just plain disgusting.
Worried Momma (Florida)
Almost all the federal case against Epstein took place under the Obama admin. Did Eric Holder get wind of the 53 pages of horrifying details? If not - why not? If so, what was his role in the total capitulation of the federal prosecutors to Epstein's legal team? Read the Miami Herald series. An Acosta deputy emailed defense attorneys about her dedication to seeking misdemeanor - not felony - charges. The federal lawyers were all in for the predator. Over and over - Paging Eric Holder....who last I heard was thinking about running for president.
Hochelaga (North )
What about Trump ? What about Dershowitz? Their names have been mentioned as having allegedly played a role in this sordid business.
rosa (ca)
Given that we have 14,000 children being held who-knows-why and who-knows-where, then I call upon the United Nations to investigate this. No, I do not believe that this government is safe for those children. Our legal system is no longer functioning, and, more, it is being filled by judges and attorneys who put their allegiance to the Federalist Society and not to the citizens of this country. This court case needs to be watched closely and worldwide so that these women who were once young girls being raped, assaulted, and forced to satisfy men (who thought it was all a big joke) can finally find justice. Jail them all. And, if you don't understand that phrase, try another: LOCK THEM UP! LOCK THEM UP!!!
Sophia (chicago)
This is about rape, misogyny, abuse, yes - all of that. But it's also about class. We've got to address the fact that rich and powerful people get away with murder. Instead we install a brass plated billionaire in the White House and the GOP slashes taxes on the rich. So now they have even more money and even more power. Meanwhile, our leaders begrudge the poor a few food stamps and public housing funds are slashed and the Republicans are doing their best to destroy what little health care safety nets we have. Back in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah this was a recipe for disaster.
Margo Channing (NYC)
@Sophia Indeed, Teddy Kennedy was re-elected time and time again. I wonder how Mary Jo Kopechne's parent's felt about this.
AVIEL (Jerusalem)
@Sophia Sdom and Gmorah do come to mind and seems to me no difference which political party they identify with. Republicans are for sure greedier but no more or less corrupt or perverse
Valerie (Miami)
@Margo Channing: Ah, whataboutery. I wondered how long it would take. Besides, TK's worst critics came from within his own party. Would that the Rs had similar courage. Alas...
I always wondered what our shared values with Saudi Arabia were. Epstein, Acosta, Dershowitz, Clinton and Trump make it clear how much we have in common with Saudis like Crown Prince MBS and their ongoing gender Apartheid. The common bond of rich, powerful, connected men treating women and, in this case, girls as less than human, violating their human rights - apparently a universal male affliction: money, power and abuse of women and girls. Throughly and completely disgusting and outrageous. Thanks Michelle Goldberg for covering this story. Michelle is the best of NYT. Where is the rest of the NYT on this story?
drspock (New York)
The key to this story is buried three quarters of the way through. Epstein didn't just run his "Lolita Express" for his own depraved pleasures. As a big campaign contributor to both parties he regularly invited politicians to his 'island'. Bill Clinton is just one of many that he "partied' with. And while all claim their innocence, the only way to insure that the facts of what really happened wouldn't come out is if their were no trial. In addition to Florida's laws, it's likely that Epstein could have been prosecuted under the Mann Act for transporting women across state lines for the purposes of prostitution. It's obvious that Epstein's lawyers made it clear that if he faced a life sentence he had nothing to loose by telling all. His partners in these crimes had lots to loose, so Acosta became their bag man and delivered a sweetheart plea deal that no defendant before or since has ever gotten from a US attorney. Coincidence? Will the Democrats find out what really happened? Of course not because their laundry is just as dirty as Trump's.
Knute (Pennsylvania)
@drspock This is correct as this will go nowhere as long as the big Dog is implicated...
Bob Westbrook (Seattle)
@drspock. The new generation of Democrats don’t seem to hold their forbearers in positions of honor. They seem willing to reveal all the ugliness in order to clear the deck and move forward. I seriously doubt Democrats will try to hide their party’s past if they want to claim the high ground in the future.
Patrick M (Brooklyn, NY)
@drspock This isn't about Bill Clinton. He isn't the one under suspicion, except in your mind.
Terry McKenna (Dover, N.J.)
We can count as a real achievement of the Trump administration, that this story is no longer unbelievable. For any past president, this would have come out in the vetting. But there is no vetting.
vulcanalex (Tennessee)
Perhaps because that issue has nothing to do with his current job?
Amskeptic (All Around The Country)
@vulcanalex "Perhaps because that issue has nothing to do with his current job?" Because integrity is so 2016. I do not want this creep Acosta anywhere near the Labor Department where he is in charge of labor policy that includes protections for exploited workers. And you say that this current job has nothing to do with "that issue"??
John (Switzerland, actually USA.)
If the likes of Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein end up with less than 20 years in federal prison, it will be open season on women in America.
Tricia Y (MA)
It already IS open season in America. The sick joke called the Kavanaugh Hearings proved it.
Penny White (San Francisco)
In our society, male sexual entitlement is valued far above the humanity of women and children. Sadly, men on the Left are as determined to protect male interests at the expense of women and children as men on the Right. I was stunned to see the opposition by many of my fellow "progressives" to the bipartisan FOSTA law (which held websites accountable for allowing sex traffickers to sell children on their sites). Too many people on the Left (and I am a lifelong Progressive) were more concerned about the profits of adult pimps and cam girls than they were about children - mostly poor girls of color - being sold to rapists. I will never forget that. It still turns my stomach. As long as our society values male orgasms over female humanity, criminals like Epstein, Trump, and Acosta will continue to rule.
Michele Brandt (Brooklyn)
Why isn't this on the front page of every newspaper in the country?
Interesting, isn’t it, that: “...after predicting in early 2015 that Epstein would cause Bill Clinton “a lot of problems,” Trump rarely if ever mentioned it again. Perhaps that’s because Trump also counted Epstein as a friend, once affectionately describing him as a man who “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” One recalls the story of “Katie Johnson” who had filed a suit against Trump in 2016 claiming he had raped her when she was a 13-year old in 1994 at one of Jeffrey Epstein’s parties in his 71 St. townhouse. She suddenly dropped the suit a few days before the election. No doubt the whole thing was a fabrication. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3894806/Woman-alleged-raped-Donald-Trump-13-Jeffrey-Epstein-sex-party-DROPS-case-casting-doubt-truth-claims.html
John Snow (Maine)
Ross Douthat mentioned this in his op-ed yesterday, so I clicked the link and read about the whole sordid spectacle. In it, Acosta talks about how much pressure he was under from Epstein's lawyers....huh?? His job was to prosecute! Pressure from a billionaire changes your job description? That shouldn't happen in America, and I used to think it wouldn't. The blindfold on Lady Justice must have slipped
Will Rothfuss (Stroudsburg, Pa)
He is a really creepy looking guy.
Nm (Battle Creek)
Acosta protected a pedophile, a man who performed sexual acts with prepubescent or pubescent girls. He did not simply abuse underage girls. Saying that minimizes his crime. Call it what it is, pedophilia.
Scott F (Right Here In The Left)
Happy to see this expose in the NYT. What in the world has happened to our once respectable nation? As the Nation honors and buries our Statesman and former Public Servant Extraordinaire George Bush, we now have lowlifes in all kinds of high places. We the People have been had.
Nat Ehrlich (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Now I understand Dershowitz's rationale for trying to deflect legal efforts against Trump. Himtoo!
LT (Chicago)
"Despite Florida’s strict sex offender laws ..." Private wing in a county jail? Private security guards?! Work release 12 hours a day, 6 days a week? 13 month sentence? "Strict" must be a Florida colloquialism for "easily circumvented if you spread enough money, threats, and favors around". Acosta should be investigated, and forced to testify under oath, whether or not he resigns. As should everyone even tangentially involved in allowing a serial child sex offender to serve a short sentence under comfortable "jail" conditions that would make a drug kingpin jealous. And the FBI probe into "whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes" ? Reopen it. Find out how far this goes. Let the chips fall where they may.
The answer is simple. Mr. Acosta works for a man who bragged about his own sexual predation.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita, Kansas)
“ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing “. We have an extreme shortage of good men in this Regime. Women, it’s on US. Throw the bums out, OR burn it down. I’m furious, I’m out of estrogen, and I’m done with playing “ nice “. Seriously.
Robert Henry Eller (Portland, Oregon)
Of course Trump would want Alex Acosta in his Cabinet.
KatieBear (TellicoVillage,TN)
The "Herald" also talks about Acosta/Epstein and Bear Sterns (About to fail in 2007-08). Perhaps Trump didn't bring Clinton's indiscretion up as it relates to Epstein because Trump is also "Accused" of raping a young woman brought from Penn Station by a "recruiter" to one of Epstein's homes in NY. There is a LOT to this horror that still needs to be reported/investigated. Life with Trump is a sewer. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/04/donald-trump-teenage-rape-accusations-lawsuit-dropped
John LeBaron (MA)
It is simply impossible to express the disgust I feel for the human depravity revealed in this column. These cesspool-dwellers are running this country. The exploitative Bacchanalia of ancient Rome pales in comparison to this abomination. Alexander Acosta, along with consigliere Alan Dershowitz, one of President Trump's "best of the best."
Chris (Colorado)
Agree 100 percent Epstein should be fully investigated and his ties exposed. Not sure why this article morphs into an anti-trump rant -- but hey its the NYT editorial page. Anyway - this guy and his contacts need to be exposed. Including Clinton.
Amskeptic (All Around The Country)
@Chris I do not see what you see. This is not an "anti-Trump" rant. It is an anti-Power And Money Gets You Off The Hook rant. That Trump happens to be in the middle of it may be because Trump is in the middle of it!
Analyst (SF Bay area)
It's a lot worse than your incomplete reporting makes it out to be. And I note that your paper had been very selective in which celebrities it choose to name and which it left out.
Kelly (Indiana)
NYT, please help me understand how commenting that Donald Trump was credibly accused by one of these girls “recruited” by Epstein of having raped her, should not be allowed into the comment section. The now young woman had a legitimate case, a named witness and, obviously, multiple other girls who could testify that they, too, were “recruited and shared” by Epstein. Donald Trump is clearly one of the many powerful men Michelle Goldberg is implying MAY have taken part in this grotesque system. The fact that she inexplicably dropped her case last year is relevant.
wcdevins (PA)
Every Republican is reprehensible. Acosta is just another on a long, long list of self-serving liars, molesters, and hacks running the GOP. He is another graduate of the GWB judicial appointments class, a class of losers undeserving of government appointments like no other. Until Trump's bottom of the barrel judicial appointments, culminating in the massively flawed, massively compromised, massively unfit Brett Kavanaugh, who will despoil the SCOTUS for generations, just as Scalia did.
Rick Beck (Dekalb IL)
Because he is a perfect fit for the Trump swamp. A swamp where ones ability to manipulate the law is much more important than adhering to it. A swamp where raping children is acceptable if one has enough wealth and influence to be an asset to the swamp. He is among the worst society has to offer and the Trump swamp embraces and welcomes him.
John Taylor (New York)
“The Lolita Express” my goodness what a sick person...uh sorry... I should say what a sickening group of men. An American horror show.
John David James (Calgary)
Perhaps the real question Ms Goldberg should be asking is why the Acosta story is not from page in her paper rather than just an opinion side piece be her. This truly is a story about the apparent immunity of the rich and powerful in America. Is the NYT just part of that phenomena?
Dennis Maxwell (Charleston, SC 29412)
@John David James. Sadly, it seems so. NYT doesn't, and won't, cover because it's "old news" now. The newspaper may run articles that report on the reporting. They've gotten good at that. But, actual 'digging' into this story by ace reporters of the New York Times is unlikely . . . at best. And that truly sickens me.
magicisnotreal (earth)
Bill Clinton the bad penny that just keeps turning up. Every part of this story is sickening. I'm guessing Mr Acosta did exactly what it looks like he did, he sold us out. Is there any republican in the last 50 years who isn't a traitor?!
Diogenes (Belmont MA)
Don't forget Alan Dershowitz's relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. He claimed that he went to Epstein's house for a "message" by one of the under-age girls. Dershowitz now is the chief academic legal defender of Donald Trump who is also a good friend of Jeffrey Epstein.
MidWest (Kansas City, MO)
More detailed account from Politico. Trump more involved than NYT article says? https://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/04/jeffrey-epstein-trump-lawsuit-sex-trafficking-237983
Fred (Up North)
Disgusting! I truly regret to say that I am no longer shocked.
DoTheMath (Seattle)
From WaPo today: During the 2016 presidential campaign, another young woman, known in court records only as Jane Doe, said Trump had raped her when she was 13, in 1994, at a party at Epstein’s New York mansion. But the woman dropped her lawsuit and canceled a news conference at which she was expected to spell out her allegation. Her lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said the woman had received threats and was too scared to go ahead with her accusation. An attorney for Trump at the time called the allegation “categorically untrue.”
JOHn (Nyc)
Maybe for the sake of diversity? :-)
nurseJacki (ct.USA)
As a snowbird to Florida..... There is a stunningly huge problem with sex trafficking in Florida Shedding light on all the Floridian corruption is a good start to follow the money. These cabals are top down Michelle thank you and please help us all get informed Every day is a deluge of corruption and abuse of power. We need your style of journalism to beat the pimps at the top including trump!!!
TDurk (Rochester NY)
In answer to Ms Goldberg's / the editors' headline question, Alex Acosta still has a job because of two likely facts: 1. He knows the men who made use of Epstein's pimping services and they are politically powerful, wealthy, span political parties and they owe him. 2. He or someone close to him made use of Epstein's pimping services. When it walks like a duck ...
Paul King (USA)
This is the one that might explode all the creeps. "Lolita Express." Put kindling under this story and stoke it till it burns a thousand feet high.
Chaks (Fl)
The other most important questions are: Why has the NYT not made this story front page news? How did Mr Acosta get confirm by the Senate? In the Age of Meetoo#, we have a Labor Secretary who as a US attorney has given a sweat deal to a pedophile serial abuser and child trafficker. One of Mr Acosta job is to the fight against Human trafficking. Ms Goldberg, if we were in Turkey, Saudi Arabia etc..I would be worry for your life. But since we are in the US and that journalists don't get kill ( at least not yet). I can tell you that if you or the Miami herald journalist has a kid with average grades who wants to get to an Ivy league school, you can forget about it. Tips from Government officials , forget about it. Career advancement, forget about it. That's how Journalists in the US are kept in check. What a corrupt system we live in.
Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job? Why Does Donald Trump Still Have a Job?
Donegal (out West)
Why does Alex Acosta still have a job? Because Donald Trump is his employer.
Mary Dalrymple (Clinton, Iowa)
Acosta had all the right qualifications for the Trump cabinet. He is corrupt and has no morals. Fits right in with the rest of the criminal cabinet.
JoeG (Houston)
My conspiracy theory: the wealthy pass around children for sex. Wasn't Pizza Gate ridiculous. It even had a gun nut show up to get more laughs. It couldn't be true not the Democrats. One of the best ways to tell a lie is to make the truth sound laughable. Where I grew up there were alot of young boys doing drugs. They got their money by prostitution. They had some very famous clients. It's more prevelant than you think. Could pimping children and have sex with the underage fall into the category of non violent crime?
N8t (Out Wes)
The simple answer, Miss Goldberg, is that Acosta's boss is a self professed, life-long sexual predator of women. Not exactly the kind of guy who is grossed out by employing a pedophile.
Andy (east and west coasts)
Why does Trump? Why does Whitaker? Why does Zinke? Why does Wilbur Ross? Why does DeVos or Carson? Seriously, why does the whole rotten, dirty, crooked, self-serving lot still have a job?
Midwest Josh (Four Days From Saginaw)
Why is Hillary Clinton still married to Bill, who has a close relationship with Epstein?
George (NYC)
Michelle, perhaps in your zeal to demean the current administration coupled with your hatred of Republicans, you fail to acknowledge what has occurred within your own backyard. Katie Brennan was assaulted by Albert J. Alvarez a member of Governor. Phil Murphy's administration, yet Murphy took no action. Why have you let that act pass unnoticed? Acosta cut a sentencing deal. Is it deplorable? Absolutely, as was Jon Corzine's ability to avoid any prosecution for his financial malfeasance. Why is there no reference to Bill Clinton's joining Epstein on his Lolita Flights? Selective facts in action. It's speaks volumes to your credibility Michelle!
Dunca (Hines)
@George - Your argument is a total "what aboutism" which is comparing an allegation of an assault based on he said vs. she said and doesn't involve a rape, let alone statutory rape of multiple girls under age which would be labeled sex trafficking in a deliberate and total misuse of power to trade arranging sexual favors in exchange for power, privilege and status. The case against Albert Alvarez is an allegation of sexual abuse (not rape) by a volunteer against an aide, not to diminish the seriousness just to point out the egregiousness of the comparison. Also, Michelle Goldberg did point out that Bill Clinton was on the Lolita Flights so it is evident that you are a GOP partisan rather that someone outraged by the repulsive act of horrific exploitation of underage girls by the rich and powerful and Acosta's role in letting Epstein off the hook and the mysterious reason as to why he didn't uphold the law.
George (NYC)
@Dunca my response to the column is far from an aboutism view. Katie Brennan stated she was raped by Albert Alvarez. She sought medical attention for the rape. The Murphy administration did nothing. Alvarez attempted to silence her by offering her $15,000 to shut up and go away. Those are the facts Dunca. As to Bill Clinton, his actions are repulsive. Dunca, your “what if view” on how the prosecution of Epstein would have turned out is just that a “what if assumption” nothing more. Your liberal self righteousness doesn’t sell when the columnist paints a continuous biased view as Ms. Goldberg does. No matter how bitte you may view the legal process Dunca , justice was served.
Mary (Peoria)
Again, this directly relates to the child rape case filed against Donald Trump during the 2016 election: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-bloom/why-the-new-child-rape-ca_b_10619944.html The rape was alleged to have occurred at Epstein's house, at one of his parties, along with many other acts of child sexual abuse.
Mike Roddy (Alameda, Ca)
@Mary Not surprised. Let's not forget Bill Clinton, who was given a pass in this column. He didn't just ride in the Lolita Express, he pardoned Epstein soon before leaving office. Sleazeballs can be Democrats, too.
pmhswe (New York, NY)
@Mike Roddy — Bill Clinton pardoned Epstein? Really??? What’s your source??? Facts: Clinton left office in January 2001. Criminal investigations of sexual misconduct allegations against Epstein did not begin until 2005 and 2006. Epstein has never been convicted of a federal crime; he instead pled guilty to a •state• offense. A president CANNOT pardon anyone for a •state• crime — only federal crimes. So, Mike, the only reasonable conclusion possible is that your assertion, that Clinton pardoned Epstein for something, resides in the realm of pure fantasy. — Brian
Stephen (Fort Lauderdale )
@Mike Roddy Whatever else Clinton may have done, he did NOT pardon Epstein. Look it up.
Walking Man (Glenmont , NY)
Why would anyone go to bat for a guy like this? Hmmmmm. Unless perhaps Acosta, himself, was a guest of Epstein and enjoyed the party favors he was presented with. My guess....Acosta will resign to "spend more time with his family" or "pursue other business interests". Unless , of course, the Dems decide they don't wish to drag Bill Clinton further through the mud. Remember.....Trump would have looked bad for being "associated" with this guy. Hillary's campaign would have been destroyed if Bill was found to be a child sexual abuser and she was viewed as an enabler. No matter what party you belong to...people of money have each others' backs.
Helen Toman (Ft myers, FL)
Perhaps Mr Acosta was also a "friend: of Epstein?
Patty (Sammamish wa)
This is as horrific a cover-up of sexual crimes as the Catholic Church where many high profile and powerful men sexually abused underage girls. Congress needs to investigate Acosta why he was involved in the egregious miscarriage of justice for the sex trafficked underage girls. Dershowitz and Ken Starr are protectors of sexual deviants against 12 and 13 year old girls ... I never want to see Dershowitz face ever again unless he’s serving time.
ML (Princeton, N.J.)
Everyone knows and no one cares. If we needed any further proof that the lives of women and the poor in this country are worth nothing this story provides a complete exegesis. This disgusting sexual exploitation of children crossed party lines, involved major players in both business and politics. Epstein made little effort to hide his cadre of underage sex slaves, flying them around the world and loaning them out to friends. He has been protected and befriended by powerful men in both parties from Ken Star to Alan Dershowitz, from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump. All of these men knew that he was raping children yet they chose money and power over basic human decency. This is old news, nothing to see here folks.
Harold (Winter Park, Fl)
My firm guess is that Acosta, himself, indulged in that egregious sin and then had to cover for it. Kind of like a passage in the bible "depravity begets depravity'". But, we are not surprised as we get heinous revelations about Trump, his team, and his associates (not friends as Trump has no real friends) virtually every day. The weight of it all seems now to be weighing on Trump as we witnessed him as a completely lost soul at the G20 meeting. His best buds ignoring him must have been a huge blow. Is Trump sorry? He doesn't seem capable.
Janet Michael (Silver Spring Maryland)
The Swamp is getting creepy and lawless.It has no bottom and far from being drained , it is being repopulated. The sordid story of Mr.Epstein and his abusive behavior needs more investigation and Mr.Acosta needs a thorough discussion with a congressional oversight committee.No surprise, he is involved in questionable behavior which makes him unfit to be Labor Secretary.
Tom Chapman (Haverhill MA)
As the late comedian Lennny Bruce once pointed out: "In the Halls of Justice, the only justice is in the halls".
Susan (Paris)
“Prosecutors seem to have deliberately kept the details of the settlement from Epstein’s victims. Two of them are suing to overturn Epstein’s plea, arguing that it violated the federal Rights Victims’ Crimes Act, which requires prosecuters to notify victims of plea negotiations and sentencing. (Some of Epstein’s victims are expected in court for another lawsuit arising from the case, which begins Tuesday.)” Can anyone tell me if there is somewhere (Crowdfunding?) I could send money to help with the legal fees of Epstein’s victims, in their fight to get justice and put this serial child sex offender, who has blighted so many lives, behind bars for the rest of his days?
Let’s not forget that Trump has long standing connections to Epstein. “He’s a great guy” Trump said.
Kathryn (New York, NY)
This would have been front page news for days if we lived in normal times. It is a dark and disturbing story about a hideous and evil man who apparently palled around with a lot of famous politicians. In November, 2016, Gloria Alred represented a woman who claimed that both Epstein and Trump raped her when she was 13. The woman dropped the charge. Whatever happened to reporting on that? Where was the follow-up? It is impossible for journalists to keep up with the news, as every single day several awful things happen that Trump does or says and there just isn’t time in a day to report it all. We can focus on one outrage, only to have something worse happen the next day. We’re all exhausted just from attempting to stay current. I do hope that we’re kept in the loop on Acosta. Does it really surprise anyone that this man has a position in Trump’s cabinet? When exactly is that draining the swamp thing supposed to start anyway?
BB Fernandez (NM)
Ivanka Trump recently sent out a tweet extolling the administration's efforts to combat human trafficking. Apparently those efforts haven't actually begun here at home since Alexander Acosta helped a trafficker escape the prosecution he so deserved and now Acosta sits on the Trump Cabinet along with all the other swamp creatures.
Greg Gerner (Wake Forest, NC)
Jeffrey Epstein, Bill Clinton, one of Epstein's "many famous associates," and Donald J. Trump. What's that old saying, "Birds of a feather flock together." What do these three highly esteemed members of America's 1% have in common: An unquenchable avarice for money and power; an unchecked appetite for women and girls, the younger the better; and, finally, a striking lack of morality. Seems like the old saying is right. If you want to know how far America has fallen, the celebrity these three men enjoy to this day is most telling. In my parent's time, no person of character would be seen in the same room with any of them. Today, where being rich trumps all--no matter how illicit or questionable the means you used to attain said wealth--there are no such moral compunctions. What lesson are we teaching our children? I think what I've written here completely answers Ms. Goldberg's very valid question, "Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have A Job?” Mr. Acosta still has a job because this is how America works. This is who we are.
Ken (Tillson, New York)
Epstein was protected and his victims once again victimized because Epstein had a great deal of money to give away to politicians. It's simple.
Larry Bennett (Cooperstown NY)
When it comes to employing people, Trump has a Midas touch in picking the worst of the worst. After almost two years of this, we, the public, yawn, and wonder why Beelzebub has yet to be hired on. He must not want a job.
BCnyc (New York)
"It should end his career"? It should? Allegations in a newspaper should end his career? Wow. I see that as old-line press continues to be marginalized with each passing day, your aspirations to have yourselves serve as judge and jury have not diminished. If the guy has actually done something wrong, let proper authorities investigate it and let a jury or Congress decide what to do.
Jbugko (Pittsburgh, pa)
I'm hopeful that January is going to be a very busy month for our newly elected Congress.
Steve Bruns (Summerland)
@Jbugko Haven't you heard? Speaker Pelosi wants to establish a "bipartisan marketplace of ideas" in the next House session. Just as she took impeachment "off the table' in 2007, how could you expect anything less?
Lawrence (Washington D.C,)
He has a job because of the secrets he could tell. What does he have locked away in a private safe? A forensic accounting of his gain in wealth could be most enlightening. Protecting a serial molester from prosecution is as bad as the act. The first can be seen as a disease perhaps, the second is due to unbridled greed.
Samp426 (Sarasota)
Didn’t Ms Ivanka Trump just write an Op-Ed in the Washington Post extolling her father’s work combatting Sex Trafficking? Are we in an alternate universe? It’s all becoming too much to process.
D Price (Wayne, NJ)
Good journalism is more important than ever. Thank you Miami Herald.
FunkyIrishman (member of the resistance)
I was reading along wondering if this had only been going on the last couple of years, and if so, then would there be anything done when Democrats took over in January ? Then when I got to the end of the column and saw that it supposedly has been going on for such a long time and the name of Clinton shows up, that I understood why it might have gone on so long. Just sordid.
Stan G (New York)
Thanks! Another excellent expose.
Jonathan (Brooklyn)
"What’s shocking is not just the lurid details and human devastation of his alleged crimes, but the way he was able to use his money to escape serious consequences, thanks in part to Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor." "That makes him smart," Mr. Trump would say.
What most people, who are not involved in the criminal justice system, do not appreciate is just how much recidivism is involved in the sexual offenses. Having worked in the criminal justice system, I can tell you that most sexual offenders do not just commit one offense; they do it multiple times, and do not stop. It really is astounding.
JP (MorroBay)
I think I'm going to be physically ill from reading this, while at the same time angry enough to yell at the top of my voice "This can't be my country!" Tragically it is, though.
Robert (Seattle)
Is it just a coincidence that Trump has many connections to the "serial child sex offender" Epstein? Trump is known to have attended at least one of Epstein's "parties." Moreover, some of the underage victims were "recruited" by Epstein at Trump's Mar a Lago resort. I assume the young women were holding conventional jobs there? Trump has called Epstein a friend who “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.” Why was Epstein protected by Trump's Labor Secretary Acosta? One hypothesis is that the Republican Acosta was protecting prominent Republican men who participated with Epstein in the abuse. President Clinton is known to have flown in Epstein's jet, but we cannot believe Acosta would have done anything to protect him. Another hypothesis--not mutually exclusive with the first--is that Acosta protected Epstein after money changed hands. The Trump supporter Alan Dershowitz has been credibly implicated by an Epstein victim. She has also implicated a British royal and has provided, in that case, photographic evidence.
Barry (Boston)
Was Trump or his agencies involved in getting Epstein girls? Maybe his choice as labor secretary was payback for keeping quiet about Trumps role in all of this?
Out West (Ca)
And here I thought I was all tapped out on outrage and disgust, but this article has found new reserves. My God what will it take to end this administration?
Iced Tea-party (NY)
The evil is drawn together, likes attract likes. As Machiavelli said, you can judge the prince by his friends.
smb (Savannah )
Epstein was noted for his hidden cameras catching his "guests" on film with the girls. The woman who accused Trump of raping her when she was 13 was one of the Epstein victims. This latest information might explain the otherwise mysterious constant defense of Trump by Dershowitz. Were any Russian mobsters involved? Something is very rotten about the entire Epstein case closure. I am grateful to the Miami Herald investigation. Acosta should never have been appointed and should resign. But look at the others on Trump's cabinet with corrupt actions or conflicts of interest or bizarre behaviors.
Bill Wilson (Boston)
One hopes the complete details of this case are exposed. If they are, I believe it will be as extraordinary it what it reveals about the sordid hypocrisy of our time as the Catholic Church sex abuse scandals have done. And it feels like time to go back to the Penn State horror and find out more about what happened there too.
The Dog (Toronto)
I seem to recall that one of the women abused by Epstein was suing Trump for having participated in Epstein's party. Now while I am sure this could not be the case, a person might think that Epstein shared the truth about this matter with Acosta who, in turn, made it clear that any interference with his meteoric career would result in bean spilling. No, forget it. This could never happen in America.
JoanC (Trenton, NJ)
Why did Acosta and other prosecutors "work to contain the case"? I'm left suspecting that "follow the money" applies here. In some offshore bank account somewhere in the world very likely sit millions of dollars in Alex Acosta's name. Either that, or Epstein has dirt on Acosta that Acosta desperately didn't want to see the light of day. That's why.
K D P (Sewickley, PA)
What would explain such a lenient deal for a serial child sex offender? One suspects quid pro quo. But so far, so much quid, so little quo. There's a lot we don't know about this story.
Procrastinator? (Can)
@K D P Not true that little is known about this story. There has been a law suit ,that amongst other accusations , claimed a child , Mary or Maria, was conveniently ‘Disappeared’ to prevent her ‘Telling’! The well known Attorney was forced to put this case on hold because her client was threatened with death to her or her family, “Just like Maria!” Justice demands that the truth of all this be investigated properly, as it would have been if the justifiably incensed Chief of Police at the time was not shoved out of the way, for the benefit of the wealthy powerful perpetrators. The entire affair stinks to high heaven!
Livie (Vermont)
One thing that's especially dismaying in this outrage is the number of women who enabled Epstein to carry out his predations. I think every American who cares about justice should be vocally and adamantly incensed. As somebody once said, it's organized violence at the top that causes random violence at the bottom. This is organized violence. When people understand that there two legal systems, one for the haves and another for the have-nots, there are no prizes for guessing the outcome. Of course, the toadies like Acosta who helped Epstein get away with his crimes are incapable of thinking that deeply.
Anna (NY)
I would not be surprised at all if Acosta himself were one of the powerful people frequenting Epstein’s “business”. That happened before and elsewhere. Another possibility is that some of those other powerful people threatened Acosta and/or his family with repercussions if he wasn’t lenient enough with Epstein. There certainly would have been rich criminals among Epstein’s Johns.
Nancie (San Diego)
Why does anyone in this trump-made swamp still have a job? Would any other president and their mob still have one? Nope.
Ash (Maryland)
Once I read Bill Clinton's name in the story and the fact that Trump made reference to this in passing in 2015 it made me wonder whether this is the origin of the pizzagate conspiracy theory?
lloyd (troy ny)
happy to hear that "dollar Bill" was putting his frequent flier miles to good use… great reporting Miami Herald ……..keep the heat on!!!!
Portola (Bethesda)
So Trump reportedly not only shuts up on the campaign trail about Epstein -- and Clinton -- but then hires Acosta as Labor Secretary, placing him in charge of fighting global sex trafficking? The sheer callousness of it is just breathtaking.
Adriano (Edmonton, AB)
Thanks, Michelle, for highlighting this appalling scheme. I had only heard of this peripherally up til now. I am a 64 year old man, and ashamed and infuriated that powerful men are able to shield themselves from such hideous abuse of young girls and women.
Dadof2 (NJ)
Why does he still have a job? Remember the lawsuit that was dropped at the last minute against Trump? The one that claimed he had tied up and raped a 13-year old at Epstein's place, then threatened her life if she talked? She was going to reveal her name, but suddenly got cold feet, and the next day dropped the suit. Why? Who got to her? What did they threaten her with? That's why Acosta still has a job: Trump rewarded him for his "loyalty".
Amazing reporting by the Herald's J.K. Brown. The depravity here is astonishing and makes one wonder how Epstein and his enablers are even human beings. How does Acosta (and other men like him) rationalize this abhorrent behavior? How does anyone accept this man in their employ? Does Trump think U.S. citizens are going to stand for this man serve in our government? One's blood boils against these men and for what they stole from those girls.
Josh Wilson (Osaka)
By the time Individual 1’s administration collapses there’ll be so many grifters in jail Trump can actually claim to have made good on his promise to “drain the swamp.” As usual, it’s a problem he himself invented.
Ronald Aaronson (Armonk, NY)
Ho-hum. Among the damage wrought by Trump and his basket of deplorables, AKA his cabinet, is that we have become numb to what would have elicited widespread outrage just two years ago. Why does Acosta still have a job, indeed! Why is Trump still president?
Bob in Boston (Massachusetts)
Trump (via Acosta) and Clinton linked through their common perversities. It's about time we had some bipartisanship in Washington.
A Nobody (Nowhere)
Few things are more disgusting and infuriating than the infinite impunity of the rich in New-Gilded-Age America.
sophia (bangor, maine)
"And the walls come tumbling down" May the walls of Patriarchy finally be blasted to smithereens - and take every abuser with them. We who have survived child sexual abuse - from the rich and from the poor, from the Fathers of the church and our own fathers, from our trusted teachers, to our babysitters, from everywhere whence they came, may their lives be forever changed because of what they did to us, just as ours have been forever changed. Blasted. To smithereens. Finally. No More Abused Children.
AVIEL (Jerusalem)
It would be great to see some of these powerful predators pay with serious jail time but I'm afraid many lawyers judges and politicians have their own dirt to hide or are open to bribes. Disgusted more than surprised
Robert B (Brooklyn, NY)
Thank you for this expose. The Trump administration's Alex Acosta, who is supposed to be entrusted with prevented human trafficking, is the protector of a "factory," run by a major Trump donor (Epstein) which serviced rich and powerful pedophiles, and with a plane that ferried those wealthy pedophiles to their victims which was called the "Lolita Express." One never reaches the bottom with the Trump administration; there's always an infinite amount of darkness still waiting to be uncovered further down. Now I need to take a shower; maybe three.
arp (East Lansing, MI)
Why? Because the entire administration is a criminal enterprise which should be prosecuted under the RICO statutes.
Nelson Yu (Seattle)
Where's the investigation into Dershowitz? Dershowitz was on team O.J. Simpson, and now he's writing op-eds and going on cable shows to support Trump. The allegations against him related to Epstein seem entirely credible. Dershowitz seems far too comfortable associating with famous people engaging in aberrant behavior - he's a man with no morals or ethics, always trying to use the law in ways that avoid, rather than promote, justice. Why isn't Harvard University investigating this since Dershowitz is still an honorary professor there?
No (SF)
He is accused, not guilty, so he keeps his job. It turns out, in this America, that guilt is determined by the legal system, not irresponsible columnists who make accusations based on supposition and innuendo.
Bob (Bobtown)
Time to consider an interesting change to American justice. Abolish capital punishment. Institute public neutering in its place. (What say, Gingrich...er... Neut?) And for female malfeasants? In a country that could produce Donald Trump, the Tea Party, and the new and disgusting rebirth of the Republican Party, we'll certainly come up with an equivalently terrifying punishment in no time. America.... ya gotta love it. There's no how quite like knowhow.
RK (Long Island, NY)
Unfortunately, Acosta works for a guy named Trump who thought--and said--it's OK to grab women by their private parts. It has been reported that Trump is one of Epstein's friends, but it is unclear what Trump thinks of Epstein's actions.
Max Dither (Ilium, NY)
"Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job?" Aside from Mattis, why do ANY of Trump's cabinet still have jobs? Acosta is just one more bird of a feather in Trump Land. They are all made of the same corrupt and incompetent cloth that he is. Acosta just happens to be a little more immoral.
Rocky (Seattle)
Money buys anything. Diversion. Leniency. Silence.
TheUglyTruth (Atlanta)
Not a surprise at all really. Why do you think young girls crossing the board are shipped around the country in darkness, many disappearing in the middle of night. The Trump administration, through ICE, is running a government backed criminal sex trafficking organization.
Martha Shelley (Portland, OR)
The level of corruption in this country--the concentration of wealth, the exploitation and rape of poor children by the rich, the out-and-out cruelty--is beginning to match that of pre-Revolutionary France.
John G (Torrance, CA)
Follow the money: Epstein to Epstein's attorneys to Acosta. A special prosecutor with forensic accountants will be required. This has to be the most disgusting of Trump's multitudinous associates and their criminal acts. Follow the money.
Jethro Pen (New Jersey)
The answer to the piece's headline is that only very recently has the report detailing formal and informal charges, as well as their surrounding circumstances, against Mr Epstein have come to light in the Miami Herald. Further it appears that the report will become widely known because tomorrow December 4, Mr Epstein goes on trial for at least some of the formal charges and it is believed some women who claim to have been his victims are expected to give testimony. The matter was also one issue discussed on the Rachel Maddow Show this evening Dec 3, which is where this observer learned some details as to the trial beginning tomorrow. That show will air again on MSNBC tonite at mindnite EST.
Molly (Shorewood, WI)
And Trump claimed he knew the BEST people and would hire the BEST people. He also talked about draining the swamp. Now we know that these were just more of his LIES. Acosta needs to go ASAP. This is why women don't vote for Republicans.
Garrett Clay (San Carlos, CA)
My god, first the story about Wisconsin, now this. Republicans what the hades is going on with you guys? This country is no longer anything close to a democracy. And Trump has an approval rating near 50%. How can that be?
Jack from Saint Loo (Upstate NY)
Thank you, Michelle. This issue stinks to high heaven, and we need to rake some muck about it!
Donald Ambrose (Florida)
Good thing that those dangerous POT dealers are being let out, because we need the space.
jmm (dallas,tx)
NY Times should not bury this story, if true. If Rick Scott was governor, would he not have known about Acosta interceding to drop or lower charges? He seems like a guy that would despise this sort of thing.
Ray Zielinski (Champaign, IL)
"..an administration so spectacularly corrupt that it’s simply impossible to give all its scandals the attention they deserve." Indeed, but this just might be the moral bottom of the barrel.
D. DeMarco (Baltimore)
Google Jeffery Epstein and Donald Trump. It is pretty easy to see why Acosta still has his job. Epstein is another of Trump's very fine people.
Dario Bernardini (Lancaster, PA)
Trump brought Bill Clinton accusers to a presidential debate. The only reason he didn't bring up Clinton's Epstein connection during the campaign is that Trump was also connected. Consider: > Repeated sexually suggestive comments about Ivanka. > Bragging with Howard Stern about walking around the dressing room at the Miss Teen USA pageant. > About a 10-year-old during a 1992 “Entertainment Tonight” Christmas special, Trump said, “I am going to be dating her in 10 years. Can you believe it?” Trump is financially and morally bankrupt. What does it say about our system when someone like that can get elected president?
Informed Investor (Temecula, CA)
Epstein being a friend of Trump is not a surprise... as both take advantage of powerless women (in some cases girls).
ML (Boston)
When you are rich, they let you do it ... even to children.
Pat (NYC)
I read the expose and Acosta should be in jail with Epstein. But, more importantly the expose shows that the rich simply get away with the worst crimes, criminal and civil. Look at 46-1, he paid some fines for severe and recurrent crimes against black and brown people in NY during the 1970's and 1980's. He was never held to account. Our systems, across the board are unjust. The poor practically go to debtor's prison for not paying a few dollars in taxes while dump and his friends escape paying any taxes; they rape and pillage but rarely pay the price. It is infuriating. We need criminal and civil justice reform. Also, we need a special prosecutor to look at the prosecutors. When the police are trying to build cases against the rich and the prosecutors are protecting them there is something rotten. It would not surprise me to learn (in a subsequent MH expose) that Acosta himself received a few "massages."
chickenlover (Massachusetts)
Alexander Acosta joins the long list of men with a shady past who now serve in the Trump cabinet. Why is that not surprising?
kirk (montana)
This is beyond the pale. Both the charge but also the prosecution's obviously illegal resolution in favor of the offender. These while collar criminals deserve a hemp collar. Republicans.
Larry L (Dallas, TX)
It's official. The U.S. is like when Colombia was run by the drug kingpins.
Katie (Portland)
Labor Secretary Acosta should be ashamed of himself. I'm sure he isn't. We have had so many examples of people in the Trump administration who clearly have no conscience, no empathy, no sense of decency, but he should be ashamed that he did nothing to punish a rapist and child molester. Epstein was in jail? Hardly. Six days a week he left for 12 hours a day. He could still travel the world (what was he doing in the places he traveled to) when he was on probation. Acosta worked to make sure a rapist and child molester walked free. These were girls. Young. Vulnerable. Girls. They will never fully recover from these attacks. It's just sickening. Disgusting. Painful, to see what this country has come to with a series of immoral and unethical men running this country via the most unethical and immoral man ever to be in any position in the White House. Epstein needs to be in jail for sex trafficking and rape for the rest of his life. And Trump's comment about "beautiful girls...on the younger side." Trump didn't "get" it, did he? On the "Younger side" means minors. Minors are illegal, Trump. Illegal. Creeps
Daniel Salazar (Naples FL)
Another lurid story about the “Mar-a-Lago” gang. In the Miami Herald article, I believe Roberts stated that Epstein used hidden surveillance cameras to film the actions of himself and his guests and talked about using them for leverage. Dershowitz still represents him after all the revealed evidence about his client. Why would a Harvard Professor of constitutional law take this case? What constitutional principle is being argued in the continuing prosecution of an admitted juvenile sex offender? Why does HARVARD continue to allow Dershowitz on faculty? Same reason they use social profiling in their admissions. Was Acosta an Epstein guest at some time? Why doesn’t virtuous Bill Clinton say a word? How about Trump? Do you think Epstein has some tapes of him and is supporting Acosta with them? The alligators are all doing well in their Palm Beach “Mar-a-Lago” swamp. They are not an endangered species. Maybe all conspiracy fantasy but nothing surprises me anymore.
KS (Texas)
Where's the Comet Ping Pong Pizzagate guy when he might actually be of use?
Tom (Vancouver Island, BC)
I can't help but wonder if there's something like kompromat going on here, where so many big wheels are caught up in abominable behavior that the system can not prosecute itself.
Doug McKenna (Boulder Colorado)
Perhaps there can be further investigation into Trump's alleged participation at several of Epstein's parties. Pages 12 and 13 of this court document are well worth reading: https://www.scribd.com/doc/316341058/Donald-Trump-Jeffrey-Epstein-Rape-Lawsuit-and-Affidavits The case magically disappeared from the court docket just before the last election.
annpatricia23 (Rockland)
Depraved indifference. Guess it's not illegal.
EEE (noreaster)
but, but, but..... Victoria's Secret...
Cynthia Adams (Central Illinois)
Very shocking article, but something is niggling in the back of my brain. Neither Michelle Goldberg nor Rachel Maddow has addressed it. Maybe some other reader can help me remember. Wasn't there a lawsuit during the 2016 election by a woman against Donald Trump and Epstein accusing them of rape when this woman was thirteen? Anyone remember that? It was supposed to go to trial in December 2016, but the woman dropped the suit, because she was afraid to continue. Did that really happen? At the time I tended to think she was just ..., well, I did not know what to think. But now her story seems more than credible. I would be interested in the names of these wealthy and powerful politicians who participated in these sex parties. Even if not prosecuted, the truth should come out. #MyChildToo
jabarry (maryland)
You can't read this story and not feel sick to your stomach. We get a glimpse into the filthy lives of the rich and powerful. The clear view is: First, they are above the law. Second, they own the government. Third, their operatives are Republicans. Fourth, voters are ultimately responsible for empowering and enabling the rich and powerful to run the government with purchased Republicans and live filthy immoral lives outside of law and order.
John Ranta (New Hampshire)
Trump didn’t just count Epsten as a friend. Trump was also named, along with Epstein, in a sexual assault case filed in early 2016 by one of Epstein’s under-age (at the time) models. Said case was quietly withdrawn by the young woman, without explanation, in November 2016, days before the election. Perhaps Acosta’s job is safe because he has sordid dirt on his boss.
Joe (New York)
As the father of two young girls, I am extraordinarily grateful to Ms. Goldberg for writing about this story. I would say this deserves to be front page news, and the lead story on major network news, not just an opinion piece on a Tuesday. Acosta made the case go away because Epstein's lawyers made clear to him that many powerful men were going to be implicated. The only reason I can think of for this story not receiving the focus it deserves is that the stench is pervasive and those powerful men have influence over our news media outlets, as well.
wnhoke (Manhattan Beach, CA)
Just reading this I was puzzled why this would be an issue for a federal prosecutor? These are really state crimes, a subject for a state prosecutor. I know there are some federal statutes, but where were the state prosecutors?
Dwight.in.DC (Washington DC)
@wnhoke I agree these are state crimes. And then there is Miracle Village a haven for convicted sex offenders in Florida, one of whom had sex with a minor who was just one year younger than the offender himself. But then, this is justice for the rest of us.
ijarvis (NYC)
I've long felt that one of the true crimes on this planet is child abuse. There is nothing worse than an adult destroying the life of someone so young. Trump's cronies deserve jail time and decades of public revulsion for all they've done to destroy our country. But this complicity between Labor Secretary Acosta and his rich friends both embodies and exceeds all that the Republican party stands for and must pay for.
Doug Terry (Maryland, Washington DC metro)
The general facts of this case have been known for a long time, years in fact. They first came out nationally in James Patterson's and two other authors book "Filthy Rich: The Billionaire's Sex Scandal - The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein" first published just before the election in October 2016. The authors made no insinuation that Trump or Clinton might have been involved in Epstein's predatory acts on teenage girls, but Trump himself admitted some knowledge of Epstein's activities when he said, long before becoming president, that some of Epstein's women were "a little on the young side." The authors also dealt with how Trump swiftly banned Epstein from Mar-a-Lago because a member had said Epstein was trying to recruit underage girls at the club. The Epstein affair screamed out for a thorough, no holds barred investigation, top to, ah, bottom. By wrapping up a sweetheart deal with Epstein, the doors to the truth largely slammed shut, except for the pending civil actions. The column correctly shifts attention to why the secretary of labor would ever, under any circumstances, allow a serial sexual predator to get off so easily and presumably also have the opportunity to continue offending. Why? Why? Why? Until the Miami Herald dropped its series last week, no one in the major media was asking this question. No one. Another question fair to ask, but largely unstated till now, is whether Acosta's appointment was a payoff for handling the Epstein case so gently.
Bob in Boston (Massachusetts)
@Doug Terry Trump barred Epstein from Mar-a Lago? Bad for business.
Dunca (Hines)
@Doug Terry - Thanks for the link to the book. As you pointed out, there wasn't enough coverage of this shocking event. And as you stated, the question now is, to what extent was Trump involved since he is a personal friend of Epstein. It truly does beg the question of the motivation behind Trump rewarding Acosta a sweet heart position in his administration, having full knowledge of the crimes that Epstein committed and the leniency in which Acosta treated the defendant. Definitely a can of worms that needs to be thoroughly examined in the near future. Godspeed to the Democrats in the House.
Doug Terry (Maryland, Washington DC metro)
It should be noted that when Epstein was in "jail" he was allowed out to go to his office for up to 12 hours a day. In effect, it was night time jail for him, a deal that many a convict would love to get. Then, once released from his partial confinement, he was on probation for a year but able to travel by his private jet to Manhattan and the Virgin Islands. Amazing. The lightness of his sentence was related in part to the fact that he was charged with soliciting prostitution, not molesting children. The underlying assumption of that charge seems to be that these high school girls, from modest homes or underprivileged backgrounds, were bad girls who did things like Epstein wanted them to do anyway. Prostitutes? High school girls? This appears to be a case of no justice for the near poor while, had the girls been from rich families, widespread outrage would have exploded. By all appearances, this was a case of a very rich man who got away with destroying the lives of young girls and also someone who was known to "share" with his friends and companions those he bribed and lured into sexual situations.
hen3ry (Westchester, NY)
Maybe someone should take a close look at what Jeffrey Epstein offered him in return for such a light sentence. It might be very, very interesting to all of us to know.
Michael (North Carolina)
Just reading this I feel the need to take a shower - in straight bleach. My God. Such utter filth.
Lynne (Usa)
I just read all four parts of this story this weekend and was so grossed out by all involved. I was sick to my stomach to find he headed the Department that handles human trafficking - appalling. I didn’t believe Dershowitz’s denial for a second. Too Big to Jail, Too Rich to Jail, Too Male to Jail! And just hearing the sleazy names popping up - (his friends) - Trump, Clinton, Ken Starr, Dershowitz is truly like a recurring nightmare.
Balynt (Berkeley)
@Lynne And let us remember that Brett Kavanaugh worked for Ken Starr as Independent Counsel and at Kirkland and Ellis.
Chuck (Portland oregon)
@Balynt Wow! This is all so sordid! Could K. be implicated if a committee of House Dems look into this? It will be interesting to see if the Miami Herald report is the end of this matter, meaning, nothing further comes of it.
Inter nos (Naples Fl)
The power of too much money has created all these sex vultures. These poor under age girls were bought as pleasure merchandise and these perverts were able to escape from harsh punishment using the crooked lawyer friends , who were supposed to use the rule of law to protect and defend these young girls . I am appalled , I am totally disgusted by the total trash made up of those lawyers and law people who ruled these cases and tried to relegate them into oblivion . I wish the new court investigation will finally be free of corruption and whoever was responsible for the previous legal unjust sentence will pay in full for this hideous crime .
Tracy (Texas)
@Inter nos I agree. But now we've got Mr. "I like Beer" Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court. How are we ever going to be free of court corruption?
T O'Rourke MD (Washington, DC)
This is the Trump Administration in a nutshell: put the person who is the worst at X in charge of X. Put the guy who enabled child prostitution in charge of enforcing the laws against it. While I read allegations involving Trump and Clinton in this, if they could be nailed, it would be the story of the century (is there not another blue dress with a stain?). The rich and powerful seldom get there by being saints, and often they are psychopaths. We give them way too much leeway. They really should be taxed into oblivion so they have less time on their hands to do the devil's work. Bring back the 90% bracket without loopholes!
tom (pittsburgh)
Truth doesn't die. So Truth will haunt Acosta and the rest of the Trump cabinet and misfit appointees. The danger of Impeaching Trump is that it could end the investigation of the rest of the misfits/
ACJ (Chicago)
Having run a small organization, I would say, our system for vetting potential job candidates was far more extensive than the national government. With Trump's cabinet you wouldn't even need the FBI---just a resume and Google.
Barbara Brundage (Westchester)
@ACJ Actually, I think it’s by design on their part. When you have someone as corrupt and dishonest as Trump is, this is what you get. Criminals and predators.
Justice Holmes (Charleston)
@ACJ. I think the Trump vet looked for the kinds of behavior Mr. Acosta allegedly engaged in was a plus.
RichPFromDC (Washington, DC)
An equally interesting question is how he got the job to begin with, or more precisely, what leverage he used on Trump to get a job in the Cabinet. But we already know.
willw (CT)
@RichPFromDC - but what was he doing in George W.'s cabinet?
Jordan Davies (Huntington Vermont)
I just read one of the Miami Herald pieces in regard to Epstein and it describes criminal behavior on a scale which I find abhorrent. And trump appoints mr Acosta, a defender of this pervert, to a cabinet post. Epstein should be in prison for life.
barbara (nyc)
@Jordan Davies When you have an administration and President who are essentially gangsters, what does it do to the country? America is a myth but there was a time growing up that in spite our political chaos, we had a collective identity.
Maurice Gatien (South Lancaster Ontario)
Mr. Epstein had friends in high places, including former President Clinton. Under the Very Important Persons Act, Mr. Epstein was entitled to special treatment from Alexander Acosta (indeed, from any other person involved in his legal case). The Very Important Persons Act is hard to find in the federal statutes - but it clearly exists, given its general applicability in many instances.
Paul P. (Arlington)
@Maurice Gatien Clinton may have been Mr. Epstein's friend at one point, but when the allegations came out, he has publicly stepped away from him.....something Trump and his boy Acosta have *not* done.
Jbugko (Pittsburgh, pa)
@Maurice Gatien However, there is no litigation involving the two pairing up to rape someone when she was 13 years old. Trump and Epstein were both defendants in a case filed against them for such a rape, and that woman filed anonymously. When Trump became the presidential nominee, she was barraged with death threats and withdrew her case. I'd like to see an investigative report on that one.
Bobo (Malibu)
@Maurice Gatien Maurice, do you think the Clinton aspect deserves further journalistic investigation -- such as by the New York Times?
Jordan Davies (Huntington Vermont)
This story fills me with disgust. There is no other way to describe my feelings.
joe (chatham)
@Jordan Davies I'm wondering why the NYT and other news outlets are not all over this story and pursuing others who may have been involved. I guess they can not because of the afore mentioned Very Important Persons Act.
Chris Manjaro (Ny Ny)
All I can say if that Trump could have used Epstein against Clinton, threatened to do so but ultimately didn't, and given that quote, it's obvious there is so much smoke here as to render visibility zero.
joe (chatham)
@Chris Manjaro Our trump was also involved which is the more likely story.
Angry (The Barricades)
...Trump was on those flight logs too, and there's credible testimony that he raped at least one underaged girl. They're all in this together, and that's why they don't break rank
Ashley (Vermont)
@Chris Manjaro or, equally (if not more) plausible, is that hes also culpable.
V (LA)
I've really had it with this sleazy, disgusting Trump Administration. Every day I read another repulsive article about their grotesque behavior I think, this cannot get any worse. And it does. Furthermore I am disgusted by the Republicans in Congress who condone this behavior. And then there are the diehard Trump supporters. What is wrong with them? Why do they think it's okay for this administration to take us down into the gutter? What do they even believe in? Do they have any moral compass?
sophia (bangor, maine)
@V: What do they believe in? They believe in upsetting as many liberals as possible as much as possible. It seems to be all they truly want - to 'stick it to' liberals, who are the Enemy. They even believe in hurting the Earth's atmosphere for their own grandchildren because it's so upsetting to liberals. Seems to be all they 'believe' in.
Steve (Va)
@V they are amoral. No principal regarding anything. Everything is transactional for them which is why they idolize trump. He embodies everything to which they aspire
susan mccall (old lyme ct.)
@sophia. anyone who is a bigot is ill informed or just plain stupid.Look at the people who sit on the dais behind trump at his "rallies"..as the "pick of the crop"it says it all.deplorable
Ann (California)
All of the Miami Herald's terrific investigative series should be required reading: How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article214210674.html Even from jail, sex abuser manipulated the system. His victims were kept in the dark https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article219494920.html
toom (somewhere)
Trump, his cabinet and the GOP show that there are two kinds of justice: if you are poor and commit a crime, you are on your own. If you are wealthy, you can get a good lawyer, or get "help" from someone who is in law enforcement and interested in advancement. Just "friends helping friends" as these people say. Taking advantage of children and the old is easier, since these people cannot defend themselves. As to the veracity of this article--I am aware of this from a number of sources, not just the Miami Herald. Skilling deserves to be punished much more harshly. And Acosta deserves to be investigated. I can only hope and pray that the Dems look into this after Jan 3, 2019.
Julian Fernandez (Dallas, Texas)
@toom Wealth will protect child rapists in our judicial system to a degree, but secretly filming powerful politicians committing the same crime and then threatening to release the career ending footage is Epstein's get-out-of-jail-free card. And if Epstein was smart enough to cover himself in this way, I'm sure he was smart enough to gather incriminating evidence on powerful men of both parties.
charles doody (AZ)
@Julian Fernandez Then a bash the door in, FBI raid with a search warrant , is in order to get those tapes, and preserve the evidence of wrong doing. Bring all of those involved down, ala Cosby.
CarolinaOnMyMind (Carolinas)
In Mr. Epstein’s partially redacted phone logs, he had a total of 10+ different phone numbers for Donald Trump, including his head of security and his butler. That was 10 years ago. These girls were unwilling conduits for so much kompramat on powerful men from both parties. Epstein had wired the bedrooms in his mansions to record video and audio of these men taking advantage of trafficked children. I doubt the full truth will ever see the light of day. And that’s heart-breaking. I also suspect a few little boys were trafficked, too. This entire, sordid saga has diminished the belief of many in the rule of law.
jefflz (San Francisco)
One might think or even hope that the endless sleaze that surrounds Trump - a true reflection of who he is himself- would be offensive to the Republican leadership and to Republican voters. Obviously it is not. What does that tell us about the GOP?
Rick Beck (Dekalb IL)
@jefflz It tells us enough to know that wealth allows one to live by different standards. That the self proclaimed moral majority is more than willing to look the other way when money is guilty of raping children.
Bill Cullen, Author (Portland)
@jefflz What does that tell us about the GOP? It tells us that at least the Republican voters are willfully ignorant, unwilling to switch off Fox News. Those farmers on their tractors plowing up the great Midwest are dialed into their Biblical radio stations, the rust belt workers are swilling beer and watching high school, college and pro football in the bars and angry at all the opportunities that the immigrants are stealing from them. Etc Etc. And it tells me that Bill Clinton wasn't just snacking on peanuts while he was on Epstein's jet... Sleaze may be on the Red side of the aisle but it is not there exclusively...
gratis (Colorado)
He has been confirmed by the GOP Senate, who support Trump 100%. End of story.
Blank (Venice)
@gratis The Senate barely supports him 51%~53%.
Rev Wayne (Dorf PA)
"Congress can send a message: Time’s up." I really hope you're right that Congress will take "some" action against Acosta and against Epstein for his "light" sentence. Unfortunately, this travesty of permitting a sex offender and apparently, sex trafficker, off with a light sentence is not surprising. Acosta was/is protecting the rich and well connected. Forgive me, if my negativity and cynicism say that not much action is going to be taken, if any. Women who have testified before the Justice Committee and Congress have been humiliated. Why would we - can we - assume any significant response of outrage by our legislators in January? Epstein has "protected" himself with the rich, powerful, and well-connected. If we had national health care all those women abused by Epstein and others who want / need counseling would receive services. Sadly, we cannot allow the rich rulers of health care and the pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies become less rich. There is much to be done to improve our compassion for each other.
Vincent (UK)
Reading this article from the standpoint of an abused survivor of the child care system in the UK, my heart goes out to all the victims that Epstein abused, alongside my desire to see justice prevail. When the law fails to prosecute to the full, those who sexually exploit vulnerable children, then the law itself must be questioned, challenged, and if necessary, it must be changed. For too long, sexual exploitation of all types have not received the full and complete attention of the justice system and this systemic and systematic failure has permitted serial abusers to perpetrate large scale sexual abuse upon countless victims aided by the lack of a zero tolerance approach to such crimes. There should be no plea deals, no negotiations, and no place to hide in respect of their crimes, and justice should be victim centered with appropriate prison sentences meted out to convicted abusers. Sexual abuse is a lifelong prison sentence for the abused, so justice should balance the scales in favour of a reciprocal punishment.
I oddly agree with Ms. Goldberg. I would love to see an investigation of this high profile Democrat donor and pal of Bill Clinton. How "Friends of Clinton" keep getting kid gloves treatment by the justice system is still a great mystery.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@TL: And "friends of Bush" and many more.
RDA (Chico,CA)
@TL You left out "and friends of Trump," and "friends of many other Republican politicians." It's important to name all the perverts, not just the ones you dislike.
Annlindgk (Las Vegas, NV)
@TL ...and also a pal of Donald Trump. Sleaze knows no party boundaries.
FunkyIrishman (member of the resistance)
I was reading along wondering if this had only been going on the last couple of years, and if so, then would there be anything done when Democrats took over in January ? Then when I got to the end of the column and saw that it supposedly has been going on for such a long time and the name of Clinton shows up, that I understood why it might have gone on so long. Just sordid.
Mike (Portland)
Thank you for trying to keep this story in the news Michelle Goldberg . Please keep up the pressure going forward .
Ralph (Philadelphia, PA)
Time’s up, indeed. Time, also, for Congress to put aside political considerations and start impeachment proceedings for the public witness tampering and attempted obstructions if justice.
broz (boynton beach fl)
Michelle, this could be the start of the MOST IMPORTANT story of your career. I believe this story is BIGGER than the Russia interference and the money laundering and bank wire fraud that are probably part of the Mueller probe. Eventually the truth will always prevail... However, the timetable is not mine. Keep digging.
Julian Fernandez (Dallas, Texas)
@broz This is not Ms. Goldberg's story. Ms. Goldberg is not "digging". She is a columnist summarizing another woman's work.
Sharon (Los angeles)
@broz its not 'her' story...but it needs to be kept in the news.
joe (chatham)
Linda (Oklahoma)
Is there even one person in the Trump administration who is not corrupt?
Pajaritomt (New Mexico)
@Linda It is difficult to tell if you are correct, but it cerainly looks as if you are correct.
Alan D (New York)
@Linda Maybe some leftover, but certainly nobody picked by Trump.
JKile (White Haven, PA)
@Linda Still looking.
Joan (Midwest)
Thank you for writing this piece. Rachel Maddow also did a segment concerning these crimes. It brings to mind the Catholic Church and its protection of abusive priests. In these cases the victims never receive justice. I will be calling Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski’s offices to ask how they voted for this secretary of labor. It is a new time for women and we must demand justice for these victims.
Justathot (Arizona )
@Joan - Shouldn't their vote be public record? You could Google it, then contact them with praise or condemnation, depending on the results and how you feel about the results.
Nancy (Brooklyn, NY)
@Joan Like the Catholic Church and Michigan State University sex abuse scandals, one way victims can obtain a modicum of "justice" is through settlements. What about one or two or three million dollars each? I think Epstein could easily afford this. Maybe the victims should go after Acosta for dereliction of duty.
L'historien (Northern california)
@Joan . i hope collins' and murowskis constituents are aware!
LL (Florida)
Julie K. Brown should win a Pulitzer for this reporting. Extraordinarily well researched, and, sadly, accurate.
CW (Left Coast)
@LL And you have to wonder if it would have been reported at all were it not for women journalists.
prj (DC)
@LL If you can stomach it, read Brown’s article. It’s horrifying, and it is impossible to understand how any “prosecutor” with an ounce of ethics or morality could have let Epstein off so easy.
Nat Ehrlich (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
@LL Michelle Goldberg reported this.
L'historien (Northern california)
GREAT reporting! Keep up the good work. The rot is so deep and widespread but we can not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed. It's going to be a very busy spring in Congress, especially the in the judiciary committee.
Mike (Santa Clara, CA)
Why Does Alex Acosta Still Have a Job? In a normal universe this would be a valid question. In Trump world, it's rhetorical. Acosta's shady and unethical dealings make him an "ideal" cabinet member. Committing reprehensible acts and getting away with it aka not going to prison is "a badge of honor" in Trumps view and you wouldn't be taken seriously by the Trump administration if you hadn't pulled off some shady dealings.
Ann (California)
@Mike-Agreed. "Federal prosecutors under Acosta's authority acquiesced to many of Epstein’s demands, including that he not go to federal or state prison." https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article219494920.html
James D (Boulder, Colorado)
@Mike This story is especially revolting, even for Trump's rotten circle of sycophants. But to play somewhat of a devil's advocate, did Acosta actually break any laws? Obviously, Epstein had the money and power to broker a light sentence, but where is the actual crime? Maybe the story has to go deeper to uncover how the transaction came to be. As the article implies, this would be a pressing concern if things still mattered.
gratis (Colorado)
@Mike Supported by the GOP Congressmen. Supported by their voters.
David Underwood (Citrus Heights)
Acosta fits in the Dishonest Donald's organization very well. It is a Racketing organization, it is built on fraud, swindling, putting businesses into bankruptcy for profit among several other schemes. These were not accidental, it has been the ongoing way the organization operates, from cheating workers out of wages to cheating investors with phony investments. It is criminal enterprise and is in violation of RICO statutes. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/06/09/donald-trump-unpaid-bills-republican-president-laswuits/85297274/?fbclid=IwAR290yGjA1IFFvwgJFz82m7sOGf32ULjo8qz1WOUCcTqmCsEUocvP63pKZY https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/10/29/lawsuit-charges-trump-organization-racketeering-enterprise-defrauded-thousands?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR29eJB9UHKvW0yJ4I8kbB4dux7jt8BIoqOJCLC258z_iWssL1Dhv7YagbA There are several more examples for research.
Justathot (Arizona )
@David Underwood - The Mueller investigation is, on its face, a RICO investigation. #RICOSuave
stan continople (brooklyn)
Despite the veneer of political affiliation, the wealthy have much more in common with each other than with the remaining 99.999% of us. As George Carlin said "It's a big club and you aint in it".
Penny White (San Francisco)
@stan continople Sadly, this is not just about the wealthy. We live in a society where the humanity of women & children are sacrificed to the needs of men. This is as true in poor neighborhoods as rich ones.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Penny White, while you have a valid point, stan's remark is still true, and the wealthy benefit from that commonality.
Yes, but the poor go to jail when caught. I know of a man doing 5 years for simply being in possession of bad material for six months with no prior criminal record. The man never touched a person. That’s the unfair advantage of the rich. And certainly not justice in any incarnation.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
I am more upset about all the political types who took rides in his plane to go to his island and abuse children. Some of them went many times.
JoeG (Houston)
@Mark Thomason Bill Clinton was supposedly a frequent visitor.
Larry Roth (Ravena, NY)
@Mark Thomason Wouldn’t it be interesting to see a passenger list...
Marvant Duhon (Bloomington Indiana)
@Mark Thomason Your charges are so serious that you should name some names. Incredibly you act as if these alleged flights to the island for sex make it less bad for Acosta to work hard to let Epstein off the hook. That doesn't seem right to me. Perhaps are you a Trump supporter? They love that sort of illogic.
Linda (Oklahoma)
When we hear that Trump admired Epstein's choice of women, "some on the younger side," our stomachs should collectively churn.
Thomas Zaslavsky (Binghamton, N.Y.)
@Linda, what, churn? No more! This is the Great America! MAGA (Make America Gluttonous Always).
Alfred Yul (Dubai)
@Linda One upon a time in the United States of America, that line would have removed him from office. Not anymore, and no less with the grateful support and admiration of "religious conservatives" who like to admonish the rest of America about its eroding "family values".
Ann (California)
@Linda-Trump has forced himself on many women including a 13-year-old that he raped. I'm waiting for the evidence to come out that Epstein helped set him up for his exploits.
Barbara (Boston)
I remember reading Michael Harrington's The Other America and how much it affected me. But we need another book like that, or a Survivor's Lives Matters movement, for surely, in another version of the Other America, there is no justice for rape survivors, child abuse survivors, domestic violence survivors, or sexual harassment survivors. Congress can't even police its own house and we have two men on the Supreme Court with credibly alleged histories of sexual assault and harassment. I don't why women and male survivors pay taxes or obey the laws when we are not safe in our own country and those with power do not act as if they care or as if women's lives matter. Go to www.rainn.org for stats on the scope of the problem.
ML (Boston)
@Barbara Please add to your list "gun violence survivors." There are parallels and overlaps. And white men are most often the perpetrators. 52 women are shot to death by their intimate partners every month in the U.S. It's all part of a pattern of violence and dehumanization that is so common it barely ever makes the news, unless it is spectacularly egregious ... like mass shootings, or mass molestings. Only sheer the volume of the violence seems to get anyone's attention anymore.
Barbara (Boston)
@ML Yes, you are correct!
Nancy (Winchester)
@ML Agree. And I think how horrified Americans are by the so-called “honor killings” in the Middle East and elsewhere. We need to look at the logs in our own eyes.
Nancy B (Philadelphia)
If anyone still thinks it is overwrought to talk about patriarchy and rape culture, just look at this story. Men who were supposed to oversee justice decide to let other powerful men have shocking leniency for truly terrible crimes. Those who were harmed were just young, powerless girls, so why extract serious costs to the criminals? And let's just try to keep it all under wraps. In 21st century America.
Ann (California)
@Nancy B-For years Epstein lured and coerced middle and high school girls into engaging in sex acts with him and others. Acosta actively prevented Epstein from facing charges and sealed evidence so that so that NO one — not even Epstein’s victims — would know the full extent of his crimes. Apparently a position in Trump's administration was just one of Acosta's awards. https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article221897990.html
EricR (Tucson)
@Ann: I'd like to think the plaintiffs will prevail in the suits brought by victims who were left unconsulted and uninformed. This, in turn, will shine a very bright light on the behavior of Acosta, and many of the illuminati who partied with Epstein at the expense of these young women and girls. If Bill Clinton is in the mix that's his cross to bear, but I have no doubt that Trump is involved up to his ears, Dershowitz has something to hide and a lot of money went into covering it all up. To get paid off with a cabinet level position tells me that there is probably evidence of Trump's misadventures and Acosta has it or knows where it is. Whatever he sealed should be immediately unsealed and broadcast far and wide to let America know exactly who and what we have in charge. I can assure you it will be very ugly.
Nancy B (Philadelphia)
@Nancy B And to expound on what I mean regarding rape culture: The concept behind rape culture is that, while all but the most depraved agree that rape is wrong, when it comes down to actually convicting and punishing known rapists, it often becomes clear that people––including men who would never rape anyone––are ultimately reluctant to make rapists pay a heavy penalty. Especially if the rapist is a white man with wealth or from a wealthy family. Or if the rapist is a priest or a clergyman and the prestige of a powerful institution is on the line.
The Alamo Kid (Alamo)
Thank you Michelle for this and your previous exposes of grievous deeds undertaken by politicians around our country. Truly, the corruption and malfeasance is deep and widespread. If we do not as a country peacefully and forcefully cleanse ourselves of this severe misconduct, can we be headed for anything short of citizen uprisings -- nonviolent or not -- in the near future? The frustration, the animosity, the anger is palpable. We must act now vigorously for a more fair and just world -- or soon face a reality which may make the current uprising in France look like child's play.
Mike Wittmann (Phoenix)
Thank you for this article. If we have any honest citizens remaining in government, a full investigation of Epstein, the people around him, and the people that kept him and his friends, from serving a life sentences would be the best reality tv.
Richard Kuntz (Evanston IL)
@Mike Wittmann Bill Clinton was not mentioned until the 12th paragraph. When this story originally surfaced, it was about Clinton, and therefore much of the media downplayed it as a right-wing conspiracy claim. Now that it can also hurt the Trump cabinet, coverage has changed.
EHooey (Toronto)
@Richard Kuntz.: But the prosecutor who negotiated this non-prosecution agreement was a republican, appointed by a republican President, so how does that make Clinton at fault?
a reader (Huntsvlle al)
@Richard Kuntz The fact the Trump left Clinton alone makes me think nothing was there or Trump pursued it, it would backfire. I also think the Republicans have cried wolf too many times on the Clinton's with out hitting pay dirt. I do wish Clinton had left the presidency as then we would have had a chance to see what Gore would have done.
See also