The former Palm Beach, Florida state attorney on Wednesday pushed back hard against Labor Secretary Alex Acosta saying his version of the events that landed a lenient sentence for billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein is “completely wrong.”
Earlier Wednesday, Mr. Acosta held a press conference as calls for his resignation continue to mount among Democrats and victim’s rights organizations for his handling of the Epstein case more than a decade ago.
He said Barry Krischer, who was the Palm Beach County state attorney, was prepared to let Mr. Epstein walk without serving jail time until his office stepped in.
Mr. Krischer fired back in a statement, accusing the embattled labor secretary of rewriting history. He said Mr. Acosta ignored the federal indictment his office scrapped in favor of the light sentence.
Mr. Krischer said his office was not a party to that agreement, which was kept confidential to Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims.
“If Mr Acosta was truly concerned with the state’s case and he felt he had to rescue the matter, he would have forward with the 53-page indictment that his own office drafted,” he said. “Instead, Mr. Acosta brokered a secret plea deal that resulted in a non-prosecution agreement in violation of the Crime Victim’s Rights Act.”
Mr. Krischer did not defend his office’s handling of the Epstein case, which lodged a single count of solicitation of prostitution, a third-degree felony, against the billionaire financier. Instead, he said this office could only pursue the prostitution charged because it that is what the state grand jury handed down.
“The grand jury head all of the evidence that was available at the time and returned a single count indictment of felony solicitation of prostitution,” he said.
But Palm Beach police who handled the Epstein case last year told The Miami Herald, they were pressured by Mr. Krischer to reduce the case to a misdemeanor or drop it entirely.
Slamming Mr. Acosta’s insistence that his office secured a better deal for victims, Mr. Krischer said the former U.S. Attorney could have pursued federal charges.
The Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office had drafted an indictment against Mr. Epstein, but it was never filed. Instead, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution.
“Federal prosecutors do not take a back seat to state prosecutors,” Mr. Krischer said. “That’s not how the system works in the real world.”
Mr. Acosta, a former U.S. Attorney in Florida, did not mention Mr. Krischer by name during his Wednesday news conference, but referenced the Palm Beach County’s state attorney.
Since Mr. Epstein was charged Monday with sex trafficking in New York City, Mr. Acosta’s role in negotiating the 2008 deal has come under intense scrutiny.
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