A former state’s attorney in Palm Beach County, Fla., on Wednesday refuted Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s portrayal of events surrounding a favorable deal for Jeffrey Epstein as “completely wrong.”
In a statement, Barry Krischer, the Palm Beach County state’s attorney at the time of the Epstein probe, complained that Acosta, who worked as U.S. attorney and brokered a deal to ensure Epstein spent time in prison and register as a sex offender, “should not be allowed to rewrite history.”
Earlier Wednesday, Acosta defended his work amid scrutiny for his role in the deal, in which Epstein only served a little over a year in prison and had work-release privileges.
But in his statement, Krischer downplayed his office’s role in the eventual plea deal, and alleged the U.S. Attorney’s Office abandoned its federal indictment after “secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta.”
“If Mr. Acosta was truly concerned with the State’s case and felt he had to rescue the matter, he would have moved forward with the 53-page indictment that his own office drafted,” Krischer 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.”
Krischer said his office subpoenaed witnesses took evidence to a grand jury, which returned a single felony count indictment against Epstein of soliciting prostitution.
The Hill pointed out, however, Palm Beach police who worked the case at the time told the Miami Herald they felt pressured by Krischer to downgrade Epstein’s case to a misdemeanor, or to drop it entirely.
Acosta, without referring to Krischer by name, described his own office as stepping in to ensure Epstein faced some form of punishment.