Court rules against Jeffrey Epstein accuser's challenge to 2007 'sweetheart deal'

Despite ruling against the challenge, the judges called the deal 'a tale of national disgrace'

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 14 April 2020 22:13
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Courtney Wild, one of the accusers of rapist Jeffrey Epstein, has lost her bid to challenge the secret "sweetheart deal" that Florida prosecutors offered him following a sex crimes trial in 2007.

Mr Epstein - who died earlier this year while in prison for other charges - was only sentenced to 13 months in jail and spent much of it outside of a prison, as he was allowed to travel to his office almost daily. He was also required to pay financial settlements to victims and was added to the sex offender registry in some states.

The Daily Mail reported that Ms Wild - who accused Mr Epstein of sexually abusing her when she was a teenager - claimed the secret deal the prosecutors made with the now-dead pedophile was a violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act because they did not notify the victims the deal was made.

According to Reason, 11th Circuit Court Judges ruled 2-1 against Ms Wild and other victims of the crime who'd petitioned for the challenge.

The judges ruled that the Crime Victims' Rights Act doesn't apply until federal criminal charges are formally filed, which means the victims of Mr Epstein weren't entitled to challenge the non-prosecution agreement.

Ms Wild was introduced to Mr Epstein at age 14 and he paid her to give him massages. He then used the opportunity to pressure Ms Wild into sex.

"Despite our sympathy for Ms Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein's hands, only to be left in the dark-and, so it seems, affirmatively misled-by government lawyers, we find ourselves constrained to deny her petition," US Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom said.

The judges characterised the case as a "tale of national disgrace," and claimed the federal prosecutors misrepresented victims like Ms Wild and others. They noted the ruling likely left the victims with little to celebrate.

"It isn't lost on us that our decision leaves petitioner and others like her largely empty handed, and we sincerely regret that. ... We can only hope that insight of the protections provided by other statutes - and even more so in the wake of public outcry over federal prosecutors' handling of the Epstein case - they will not [make other secret plea deals in the future]."

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