Democrats call on House committees to probe Epstein's 2008 'sweetheart deal,' suicide

Democrats call on House committees to probe Epstein's 2008 'sweetheart deal,' suicide
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Forty-four House Democrats are calling on the House Judiciary and Oversight and Reform committees to investigate late financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s plea deal from 2008 and his suicide this month while in federal custody.

“Epstein’s victims deserve justice and the public needs to know why a prolific child molester got a slap on the wrist instead of a long prison sentence,” Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelCharlize Theron: We didn't want the politics to overshadow 'Bombshell' Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Impeachment inquiry overshadows Trump at UN | Veterans push VA to follow through on reforms | Iranian leader open to changes in nuke deal MORE (D-Fla.), co-chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and lead signatory of Tuesday's letter, said in a statement.

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“Persons with relevant information should be questioned under oath and survivors should be given a forum to be heard if they so desire,” she added.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, part of an agreement that allowed him to serve just over a year behind bars and spend most of each day outside the prison. At least two women have alleged he abused them during his work release.

He was arrested in July, about a decade later, on sex trafficking charges. A few weeks later Epstein was found nonresponsive in his cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York and pronounced dead on Aug. 10.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr: Inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuses 'imminent' DOJ unveils program aimed at reducing gun violence Trump goes on tweeting offensive ahead of public impeachment hearing MORE has vowed an investigation into the circumstances of his death.

“Congress has a duty to give these victims a platform and shine a bright light on the shadowy circumstances surrounding this preferential plea deal. Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes were not restricted to him alone,” Rep. Jackie SpeierKaren (Jackie) Lorraine Jacqueline SpeierDemocrats seize on new evidence in first public impeachment hearing Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing Brindisi, Lamb recommended for Armed Services, Transportation Committees MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement Tuesday.

“All those who aided and abetted in this travesty of justice must answer for their illegal conduct. The survivors of Epstein’s exploitation demand and deserve nothing less,” she added.

Democrats signing the letter range from moderates and leaders aligned with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Speaker Pelosi, it's time to throw American innovators a lifeline Why Americans must tune in to the Trump impeachment hearings MORE (Calif.), such as Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosLongtime GOP Rep. Pete King won't seek reelection in New York House Democrats target Latino vote in Texas Impeachment inquiry might be public by mid-November: report MORE (Ill.), as well as progressives like Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarKrystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Omar renews claim Stephen Miller is a 'white nationalist' amid calls for him to step down Sanders 'very concerned about what appears to be a coup' in Bolivia MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibKrystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Sanders: Fighting anti-Semitism 'is very personal' Bloomberg run should push Warren to the center — but won't MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyJustice Democrats official denies that progressives struggle with electability The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg looks to upend Democratic race Progressive freshmen jump into leadership PAC fundraising MORE (Mass.).