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 Frankel (D-Fla.), co-chairwoman of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and lead signatory of Tuesday’s letter, said in a statement.

{mosads}“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 Barr 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 Speier (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 Pelosi (Calif.), such as Reps. Ben Ray Luján (N.M.) and Cheri Bustos (Ill.), as well as progressives like Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.).

Tags Ayanna Pressley Cheri Bustos Florida Ilhan Omar Jackie Speier Jeffrey Epstein Lois Frankel Nancy Pelosi New York New York plea deal Rashida Tlaib sex trafficking Suicide William Barr

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