Jeffrey Epstein’s former attorney Alan Dershowitz on Wednesday defended the 2008 plea agreement that may have spared the billionaire registered sex offender life in prison.
In an interview with CBS News, Mr. Dershowitz said it was his best job to get his client the best deal possible. He added that he would defend Mr. Epstein the same way against the sex trafficking charges his ex-client now faces in New York.
“I would try to get a better deal,” he said. “The job of a criminal defense attorney is to try to get the best possible deal.”
Mr. Epstein was facing significant prison time in 2008 when federal prosecutors in Miami offered him a slap on the wrist instead. The offer allowed Mr. Epstein to plead guilty to state prostitution charges while serving roughly a year in a county jail with work-release privileges.
Mr. Dershowitz said the Epstein deal was good for prosecutors. President Trump’s current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, then a U.S. Attorney in Florida, helped and the secure the deal and has been besieged with calls for his resignation since Mr. Epstein’s arrest over the weekend.
“They made a deal, and for them it was not a bad deal,” he said in the interview.”They got him to be a registered sex offender to pay vast amounts of money to all the women and to get him to plead and go to jail, and expose him for the world to see as a sex offender. I think the feds thought it was the best they could do.”
Mr. Dershowitz told CBS that he was shocked by the allegations against Mr. Epstein and never saw him in act inappropriately.
“If I had ever seen Jeffrey Epstein in any inappropriate situation with an underage girl, I would have terminated my relationship and turned him in,” he said.
But he added shocking behavior would not bar him from representing a client.
“We were shocked by the allegations, but as a criminal lawyer, being shocked by an allegation doesn’t mean that I won’t defend somebody,” he said.
Mr. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to child sex trafficking charges lodged on Monday by New York prosecutors.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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