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Archive for July 12th, 2019

Lots of people are asking for my take on the Jeffrey Epstein thing, but I’m afraid I don’t have one just yet; when a powerful, wealthy, well-connected person is accused of a crime (especially a complex one), the result is invariably dueling volcanos of accusation & defense vomiting megatons of obfuscation into the atmosphere.  Moreover, when the crime “just happens” to fit into a moral panic in full eruption, the result is a firestorm that makes it very difficult to separate truth, lies, prevarications, opportunism, excuse-making, police-statery, and outright bullshit from one another.  However, I respect Liz Brown’s judgment on such things and here’s what she had to say on Monday:

…Why now?  Who else may be implicated?  What do lawyer Alan Dershowitz, activist Mike Cernovich, and The Miami Herald have to do with it?…Epstein first pleaded guilty in June 2008 to charges of…paying young women and teen girls to give him massages and then pressuring or forcing them into sexual activity.  At the time, federal prosecutors declined to pursue the case so long as Epstein registered as a sex offender in Florida, served a little time in jail, and paid compensation to the victims. The prosecutor handling the case was Alexander Acosta, who is now secretary of labor….soliciting  or patronizing prostitution from victims of sex trafficking was not explicitly a federal crime until 2015, with the passage of the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act…[which] made prosecuting said crimes more lucrative for the feds…indeed, the new indictment against Epstein lays claim to his Palm Beach and New York City residences.  Before 2015, the feds may have been able to charge Epstein under the Mann Act…but…getting any assets…out of them would likely have been much harder…plaintiffs in [a civil] suit reached a settlement in 2017, and documents related to this were…kept under seal.  Wanting to clear his name, Dershowitz sued to have them unsealed.  Eventually, right-wing activist Mike Cernovich and Miami Herald writer Julie Brown would also seek to intervene…On July 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit…[ordered them] unsealed…

There’s a lot more, but I’m sure my readers will find this bit especially important:

…The conduct Epstein is accused of committing does fall under the federal definition of sex trafficking (which encompasses any paid sexual activity involving a minor, including paying them yourself).  And more so than almost any case I’ve covered, Epstein’s alleged actions fall within the spirit and not just the letter of the law.  They also come much closer to what many people might think of when they think about “sex trafficking.”  But these allegations…may be more closely aligned with other crimes, such as sexual assault, statutory rape, etc.  The decision to bring child sex trafficking charges is likely a function of a) some of these other things not being federal crimes, b) a general federal enthusiasm for adding trafficking charges in sex-crime cases, and/or c) the greater asset forfeiture possibilities and related conspiracy/etc. possibilities that come with the federal sex trafficking statute…

The final important point:  Epstein has lots of cronies in both “wings” of the US Fascist Party, so it’s likely that some powerful people in both halves of the duopoly (including two of the five living presidents) are motivated to hide the truth, while their enemies may not wish “to weaponize this” due to fear of fallout to “their” side.  All we can do for now is wait and see.

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