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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 FrankelHow Congress dismissed women's empowerment Frankel defeats Loomer in Florida House race Live updates: Democrats seek to extend House advantage 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 BarrBill BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other 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 SpeierGlobal Gag Rule is just the tip of the iceberg: Why Repealing the Helms Amendment matters Democrats press to bar lawmakers from carrying guns in the Capitol The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress moves to avert shutdown as virus talks stall again 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 PelosiDivide and conquer or unite and prosper Trump impeachment article being sent to Senate Monday Roe is not enough: Why Black women want an end to the Hyde Amendment MORE (Calif.), such as Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosFive centrist Democrats oppose Pelosi for Speaker in tight vote LIVE COVERAGE: House votes to name Speaker AOC v. Pelosi: Round 12? MORE (Ill.), as well as progressives like Reps. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarDemocrats poised to impeach Trump again Pence opposes removing Trump under 25th Amendment: reports Pelosi vows to impeach Trump again — if Pence doesn't remove him first MORE (Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibBiden and the new Congress must protect Americans from utility shutoffs Overnight Energy: EPA rule exempts many polluting industries from future air regulations | Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report | Officials ousted from White House after papers casting doubt on climate science Ex-Michigan governor to be charged over Flint water crisis: report MORE (Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyBelfast's Troubles echo in today's Washington Federal government carries out 13th and final execution under Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (Mass.).