Barr not recusing himself from case against Jeffrey Epstein: report
Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from a case involving sex trafficking-related charges filed against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, according to reports.
Bloomberg News, citing an anonymous Justice Department official, reported Barr came to the decision after speaking with ethics officials within the department.
But Barr will remain recused from any Justice Department review of its decision in 2008 to let Epstein avoid prosecution on federal sex trafficking offenses. Federal prosecutors in Florida at the time reached a plea deal with Epstein that allowed him to plead guilty to two state charges of soliciting a prostitute while avoiding a long prison sentence.
Epstein served 13 months in a Florida state prison following the plea deal.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.
Barr had considered whether he needed to recuse himself from the new case because Epstein had once hired attorneys from the law firm Barr previously worked at.
The attorney general had told reporters on Monday that he would not play a role in the “matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm that I subsequently joined for a period of time.”
Epstein, 66, was arrested in New York last Saturday on charges related to sex trafficking. Charges against Epstein were unsealed on Monday for sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
Prosecutors said that investigators found nude photos of what appear to be underage girls at the financier’s residence.
The new indictment against Epstein has led to renewed scrutiny on the plea deal he was able to reach with federal prosecutors more than a decade ago. Then-U.S. attorney and current Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has faced calls to resign from several Democratic lawmakers over his involvement in the deal.