Federal prosecutors, under former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, broke the law when they concealed a plea agreement from more than 30 underage victims who had been sexually abused by wealthy New York hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, a federal judge ruled Thursday. While the decision marks a victory for crime victims, the federal judge, Kenneth A. Marra, stopped short of overturning Epstein's plea deal, or issuing an order resolving the case. He instead gave federal prosecutors 15 days to confer with Epstein's victims and their attorneys to come up with a settlement. The victims did not seek money or damages as part of the suit.
It's not clear whether the victims, now in their late 20s and early 30s, can, as part of the settlement, demand that the government prosecute Epstein. But others are calling on the Justice Department to take a new look at the case in the wake of the judge's ruling. Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Oversight Subcommittee, on Thursday asked the DOJ to re-open Epstein's plea deal. He explains to Guy Benson & Marie Harf.
Guy Benson: [00:00:00] With that we will turn to our first guest. He is a U.S. senator from the great state of Nebraska. He's a friend of the program even though he's a Cornhuskers fan. Ben Sasse is here. Senator good to have you.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:00:11] Good to be here. I don't know what that even though comment was that everywhere you go ahead and vote. So I want us to actually know what was National margarita day. Why didn't my wife not tell me.
Guy Benson: [00:00:22] This question this is this is why you have to listen to Benson and Harf. Look at how much you learn in the first minute of the show. National margarita day and we have a new nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Senator I do want to talk about a serious topic. I watched a fair amount of the William Barr confirmation hearings and part of what you use your time to ask about was this scandalous frankly treatment of an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein who was the billionaire who is accused of widespread terrible abuses against young girls sexual misconduct over the course of many years and he kind of got this magical quasi sweetheart deal get out of jail free card and it stinks to high heaven there is now a member of the Trump cabinet who's caught up in this as well there's political heavyweights on both sides of the aisle with deep ties to Jeffrey Epstein. You wanted Mr. Barr now the attorney general to commit to reopening that investigation or looking more closely at that investigation and the and the deal the sweetheart deal that was given. Epstein There's no news on that just in the last 24 hours if you will bring us up to speed and what is your current message for the Justice Department on this front.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:01:42] Well thanks for for asking about that and for covering the story because it is it is just heartbreaking. There are dozens of little girls who are raped by this disgusting ring. And there isn't a single mom or dad anywhere in America who shouldn't be horrified by what Jeffrey Epstein did and who he is and pathetically soft sentence he received. So I mean this is the this guy is a child rapist who spent a fortune building an international sex trafficking ring for himself and a bunch of his perverted really rich friends. And I sit on the Judiciary Committee in the Senate and I'm the chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee. And so I have been pushing the Department of Justice through three different components and then now as you mentioned as Bill Maher was going through his confirmation hearings that has now become the attorney general. I've been pushing him to publicly commit as DOJ has done that they would dig further into the Epstein case. And so yesterday what happened was a federal court held that the Department of Justice had violated the rights of these victims. You know 13 14 15 year old girls who'd been raped by Epstein and his friends. And you know a lot of times the word child prostitution used to be used prostitution implies some level of participatory consent. These were little kids being raped. There was a trafficking organization that he ran. And it's it's total insanity. And he ended up with 13 months of kind of you know soft prison release in a county jail and the Department of Justice pledged to sit back you know 10 11 12 years ago now that they wouldn't investigate any further to figure out who all was involved in this. So Mike Curb message is that the Department of Justice needs to use the ruling from the judge yesterday to reopen its non prosecution agreement so that Epstein and anyone else who is involved in the abuse of these children could be held accountable.
Marie Haf: [00:03:34] Senator the judge yesterday as you mentioned ruling the ruling the DOJ violated the law. I mean very stark terms here. And I want to ask you a two part question first What are you hearing from the Justice Department about their willingness to reopen that sweetheart plea deal and then second what do you want to hear from the current labor secretary Alex Acosta. Do you want him to come testify. Do you still have confidence in him being in that position given his role. It's a two part question for me.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:04:06] Yes so I think two things need to happen. The first is the Office of Professional Responsibility responded to me in a letter I've been pushing on this for months now responded to me in a letter I guess about two weeks ago saying they would go back and review how DOJ got to this place. So to me this is not about particular individuals as the starting point inside the Department of Justice. There was a systemic failure that led them to agree to a plea deal with him which has two massive problems it has lost more than two problems. But think about them in two categories. The first is this guy should be in jail for the rest of his life and somehow he got off with only 13 months of county prison sentence in a pretty easygoing you know sort of white collar kind of prison that he was put in but the second problem is there were explicit statutes that gave those little girls rights and their families rights to be able to testify in court before any plea deal was accepted. And it looks like the Department of Justice was engaged actively in trying to cover up the plea deal. They were agreeing to it. Epstein and his really rich powerful attorneys so that they didn't have to disclose to these kids and their families that this plea deal was being agreed to and the law is clear that they had rights to testify. I want two things to happen now. One I want the proper justice broadly and PR of parental responsibility in particular has has written me back saying they are going to re-evaluate how DOJ made all these mistakes so that this doesn't happen again. We need to know what led to this systemic failure. But secondarily because the judge has struck down or has ruled that this was an illegal act. I think this plea deal needs to be rethought and we need to see whether or not Epstein can be prosecuted again and again deal sorry can we just.
Marie Haf: [00:05:54] Can I follow up on ACOSTA Just very quickly. Labor Secretary do you want him to come testify. Do you have confidence in him given his role.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:06:00] No I don't yet have particular people that are in the crosshairs of what we're doing. I want to understand how Epstein is in our crosshairs and everybody else that should have been investigated and his ring. So there are lots of people that he traffic these little girls to. Yes I mean empty mansions in four different jurisdictions. And so lots of different places where he could have been prosecuted and he would host these parties for really rich perverted dudes to have sex with little kids. So everything that can happen to investigate obscene and all of his buddies needs to happen and then at the Department of Justice level I'm not talking about particular individuals at this stage. I want to understand what all the decision making was from the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami and that's what you're referring to. Back in 2006 7 8 but all the way up into Maine justice and how this plea deal was signed off on.
Guy Benson: [00:06:49] Yeah there are a lot of people who were involved in this and as you said Mr. Epstein And Mr. Epstein has a lot of very powerful friends on both sides of the aisle. Rich people famous people so it's a travesty. We appreciate you going after this story Senator briefly. I know we have a little bit of time left with you. There's going to be a vote or at least the Senate is expected to vote next week on your bill the Born Alive abortion survivors Protection Act which would protect as it would indicate in the title of the bill babies that are born during a failed late term abortion who survived the abortion and are now outside of the womb. To me this setting aside some of the abortion bills that are laws that are being debated in the states some of which I think are horrific. This is post abortion this is post birth. Why does this need to be voted on isn't murder already illegal and shouldn't this be 100 0 in the Senate. I I'm sort of failing to understand how this could be controversial.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:07:50] Yes thank you. Guy you drew three really big and important distinctions there. So first of all I want to acknowledge I am very pro-life and I'm original cosponsor of all the pro-life legislation in the Senate. But this isn't really about that. This really is about infanticide. This is about situations where a baby survives a botched abortion and when that baby is alive and she's called on that table you know gasping for air and crying. It's about this practice called backing away when there is a botched abortion. What doctors do now is they typically just move away from the table and leave the baby to die of exposure in the elements. So to your question it personal yes of course it should be 100 to zero and it's ghastly that we're even having to debate condemning infanticide. This should be sold far beyond politics that everybody with a heart would agree that you want to protect these babies. But there are question of well why you need to condemn infanticide since we already have laws against murder. It's an active versus passive distinction. And so some would say Well when these babies are born alive if no doctor actively takes a pillow and puts it over the little baby's face and smothers her to death on the table that nobody murdered her. You just allowed her to die by exposure. Infanticide has a grotesque history but it has a long human history. The Internet's text that the ancient Greeks did it. Lots of civilizations have taken babies that were judged to be undesirable or maybe they had a deformity of some form or another birth defect and they would take them and leave them out to die in the elements. We don't do that. We shouldn't do that. We should provide the most basic level of care and so all my bill does is it would mandate this basic simple truth that a baby that's born alive has dignity and she has rights and we have a moral obligation to provide the same level of care to her that we would to any other baby at that stage of gestation. And so right now these babies are often killed passively by being abandoned and left out to die in the cold. And we should be providing care for them.
Guy Benson: [00:09:55] Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. I know you have a heart out there so much we'd love to ask you about you know the emergency declaration vote and all of that. We'll have to have you back deal.
Senator Ben Sasse: [00:10:03] Let's do it let's do it.
Guy Benson: [00:10:05] All right Ben Sasse thank you so much. Have a great weekend. We're going to step aside so much show ahead on this Friday. Grab yourself a margarita and strap it in a big show straight ahead.