Watch Live: Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta Holds News Conference | NBC News
Three. It started in just a couple minutes just to. Let you know we will have secretary. Kosta come, to the podium he'll be making a statement and. Some, questions he. Will be folks. For questions please state. Your name your organization your. Question. Sound. Check sound check, can, you hear me back there what's. Up come, and clear great wonderful, thank you. Good. Afternoon. Let. Me start by reiterating. This. Is an NBC, News special report. Here's, Lester, Holt today from New York were killing on the air with breaking news out of Washington we're moments from now president, Trump's labor secretary in fact there he is Alex, Acosta, is speaking, publicly for, the first time since, billionaire, Jeffrey Epstein was, indicted, this week on federal charges of sex trafficking, involving. Underage girls it's important, to set this up that Acosta has come under fire for, a 2008. Deal, he cut when, he was a US Attorney for the Southern District, of Florida that. Deal allowed, Epstein, to plead guilty to, state charges, of soliciting. Prostitution, from, a minor and avoid more serious, federal, charges, at the time and with that let's take you to that news conference at, that time the Epstein, legal team was, elated he. Would have avoided prison altogether. But. Then the United States Attorney's Office in Miami became involved. Epstein. Got an ultimatum, plead. Guilty to, a charge that. Would require jail, time and registration. Or. Face. Federal charges and. That. Was the week, more. Than 10 years ago that Epstein went to jail, times. Have changed and coverage. Of this case has, certainly changed since. That article. Facts. Are important, and facts, are being overlooked. This. Matter started. As a state matter, it. Was prosecuted. Initially by the state of Florida and not, by. The US Attorney's, Office in. 2006. A grand jury convened. By the state of xx the District Attorney of Palm Beach County reviewed. The evidence and recommended. A single. Charge, and that. Charge would, have resulted in no, jail time at, all, no. Registration, as a sexual, offender and no. Restitution, to. Victim, further. The. State Attorney's, Office allowed. Epstein, to self-surrender and. Arraigned. Him the following morning. Simply. Put. The. Palm Beach State Attorney's, Office was ready to let Epstein, walk free no. Jail time, nothing. Prosecutors. In my former office found. This to be completely unacceptable. And they. Became involved our office, became involved our. Prosecutors. Assist. 2008. Article recounts. Presented. The ultimatum, plead. Guilty to, more serious charges charges. That. Require jail time registration and. Restitution. Or. We'd roll the dice and. Bring. A federal indictment. Without. The work of our prosecutors. Epstein, would have gotten away with just. That, state, charge. Now. Many today question the terms of that ultimatum. What's. Called the non-prosecution, agreement. The. Prosecutor. Will tell you that these cases are complex especially. And. They involve children and even. More so in 2006. I've. Shared. With those in this room today and will make available publicly an affidavit.
Filed By the career prosecutor. In, a civil matter related. To the Epstein case, she. Talks about the challenges, faced. She. Talks about the. Victims being scared, and traumatized. Refusing. To testify and. How. Some victims, actually exonerated. Epstein. Most. Said significant, concerns about their identities, being revealed, the. Acts that, they had faced, or. Horrible, and they. Didn't want people, to. Know about them. And. She goes on to write that quote. After. The fact people. Allege that Epstein, would have been easily convicted, as, the. Prosecutor, who handled the investigation. She. Says in this affidavit. These. Contentions. Overlook the facts that existed. At the time. Her. Description. Of these facts are, corroborated. By the FBI, case agent, whose affidavit. I've also shared, today. Thousands. Of prosecutors, around the nation, this. Week are. Weighing. Guilty. Pleas versus. Trials. These. Cases, have I said are hard. They. Require prosecutor. To ask whether. A plea that guarantees, jail time and guarantees, registration. To. Ask whether, that plea. Versus. Going. To trial how do you weigh those two if going. To trial, is viewed. As the roll of a dice. The. Goal here, was, straightforward. Put. Epstein behind bars. Ensured. He registered, as a sexual, offender provide. Victims with the means to seek restitution and. Protect the public by putting, them on notice that a sexual, predator was in their midst. This. Case. People. Have said was, unusual. And. It was it was complicated, by the fact that. This. Matter started, as a state, investigation. A. State. Grand jury brought. That. Single. Completely. Unacceptable. Charge, a. State. Official. Allowed. Epstein, to self surrender and. So. It is unusual because it's unusual for a federal, prosecutor. To, intervene, in a state matter. Such. As this we've seen cases, recently. Different. Set of facts different. I don't want anyone to see I'm comparing these cases but we've seen other cases where. State prosecutors. Let, folks, go. With, no sentence. And people, shake their heads in this. Case the. Federal, office, intervened, before, the plea was taken and said stop, because. If that plea is taken at the state level, you're. Gonna face serious federal, issues. Today. We know a lot more about how victims trauma impacts, their, testimony, and this, too is important, our. Juries, are more accepting, of contradictory, statements. Understanding. That trauma impacted, memories work, differently, and. Today. Our judges. Do, not allow. Victim. Shaming by defense, attorneys, I. Have. Viewed the victim interviews. They're. Hard to watch. Because. I know that my former, colleagues. The. Men and women of my office, wanted. To help, I wanted. To help that. Is why we. Intervened. And. That's. What the prosecutors. Of my office did they. Insist, that he go to jail and put. The world on notice that he was and is, a sexual. Predator. Epstein's. Actions. Absolutely. Deserve. A stiffer sentence. For. Years there been rumors of Investigations, in other jurisdictions, and, he. Should be prosecuted. In any state. In which, he committed a crime. If. There are other states in which he committed crimes if there, are other states that can bring state charges they. Should consider those as well, and, so. I absolutely, welcome this New York prosecution. It is the absolutely. Right thing to do and I'm. Happy to take questions. How. Would you describe your. Relationship with the president, the. News cycle, here with AB Steen is changing that. My, relationship, with the president's outstanding. He. Has I, think very publicly. Made. Clear that that I've, got, his support he. Spoke yesterday in the Oval Office he.
And I have spoken. Let, me add I keep, reading about articles. About. My relationship, with me and mr. Mulvaney and, he. Called me this morning to say if if asked, that our relation ship is excellent, too and then any, articles, to the contrary, are in his words BS. And. And. So. It's. I'm. Here, I'm defending, this case that's, my job. Thomas. ABC News secretary. A lot, of people are watching this news conference including. Several young women who, say they were teenagers, when, Jeffrey Epstein sexually. Assaulted. Them they say they went to you looking, for help and they didn't hear back from you until it was too late do. You owe them an apology, so. You're. Raising the issue of victim, notification and. In. The, documents, that I've circulated, I've, addressed, the issue of victim notification as, well. The. Career prosecutor. In this case had. A difficult, decision, to make and she, didn't make it alone she. Made it in consultation. With the, FBI and she, made it in consultation. With the, office. The. Agreement, that had been negotiated. Had. An unusual, provision. Even. Though this was a state case. The. Victims, would, have the opportunity, to receive restitution. Epstein. Would be required, to pay for them to hire a lawyer to, bring. A case. Against, him a case. In which you would have to plead no. Contest and. Provide. Them with restitution. And, the. Concern, and that these are the words of the career prosecutor. That. Quote she, did not want to share with the victims, that. The office was attempting, to secure for them the, ability to obtain monetary. Compensation, because. She is aware that if she disclosed, that and the, negotiations. Fell through. Epstein's. Counsel, would, use. This to question, the victims credibility, and her, concerns, were not hypothetical. What. If Epstein's attorneys, had, already asked, one of the victims quote now. Tell me about, when the federal prosecutors, told you about getting money. And so when the agreement was signed shortly after the agreement was signed Epstein's. Counsels, indicated, that Epstein may not comply with the agreement and the. Agreement was appealed, at various. Levels within the Justice Department, and she. Details, in this affidavit, an, affidavit. That's also, corroborated, by the FBI case agent. How. She and, he, and the. Office, was concerned, that Epstein. Might not comply and we. Would have to go to trial, and, we. Had to weigh the. Issue of how much to disclose. Against. The issue of if we have to go to trial, we. Want to win we want to put Epstein, away and, talking. About this, would. Allow him. To make the argument, at trial. That. Their testimony, was compromised, and so. When, she was finally when, it was finally clear. That. Epstein, would comply with the agreement she, talks about how she made efforts, to notify the victims, how. That was a Friday, afternoon at 4:15. And, that. She learned that. The state had scheduled, the plea for 8:30. The following, Monday and she. Talks about how over the weekend she made every, effort to notify, the victims at that, time. So. Again, I would refer you to the documents, I, provided. There, is a, big. Gulf between. Sufficient. Evidence to go to trial, and.
Sufficient. Evidence to be confident, in the outcome, of that trial, and, so so if I could and I'll give. You a follow-up in a minute but if I could and so. When. This case and I provided, a letter that. Outlined some of the timeline, of this in, July. Of 2007. The. Career staff from my office met, and they said these are the four points that you will have to do in state. Court and if. Not we will proceed federally. They. Were. Very serious, that. They would proceed federally, that does not mean that they were confident. In the, final outcome and one of the tough questions in these cases what. Is the value, of a, secured. Guilty. Plea. With. Registration, versus. Rolling the dice and I. Know that. In 2019. Looking back on 2008. Things. May look different but this. Was the judgment of. Prosecutors. With, dozens, of years, of experience. If you look through that letter you'll see this was not a single. Person, making. The decisions. We're. Watching a news conference Alex Acosta, the current labor secretary. But what he's talking, about is what happened under under, his watch as US, Attorney of the Southern District of Florida in, 2008. With regard to Jeffrey, Epstein who, was recently, this week in fact was indicted on sex trafficking, as charges. Involving, underage, girls, but he had been under. Scrutiny and, under arrest in Florida, back then and, Acosta. Was the as we said the prosecutor. Who agreed to what many say is a lenient, plea. Deal that I made with. Jeffrey. Epstein we've got Stephanie, Gosk here has been covering this case he keeps talking about rolling. The dice suggesting, there was no evidence to go forward with the trial what do we know about what, they knew about I've seen at the time well. This is actually really important. Lester and this gets confusing all, these little, details but here's, the real takeaway first, people. Have to remember that, Jeffrey Epstein has been charged with sex, trafficking and conspiracy to. Traffic minors. Here in New York and when you look back and we've got the 2008. Plea. Agreement. Here you look at the fact that they were actually looking at those exact, same charges, back. Then but, he repeats, over and over this idea of rolling of the dice and, he has essentially, said that they had concerns, that, the evidence that they had against, Epstein, was, basically, not a slam dunk and his, defense, of cutting, this deal was we, were uncertain, that we were going to get, a conviction of Jeffrey. Epstein and, that the way that they structured, this, deal was, to guarantee that they got him some, kind of jail time also to register, as a sex offender and also to, go, into, settlement. Talks with, the, victims now the, criticism, of this is that people have said that, he did have that evidence that he should have been more aggressive, and should have charged. Him there are some other issues that people point out that haven't yet been raised in this press conference a couple of things one. That this agreement, was to be kept out of the public record and that, is very rare for an agreement of this type especially when it comes to sex trafficking, that that is information that should, be part of the public record, the other thing is that it also it. Also, talks. About the fact that his. Co-conspirators. And these are the people that that are part of the conspiracy that.
They Too wouldn't. Face federal, charges as, a result, of this, agreement, also a rare, condition to put in something like this an Acosta, there have been calls as we have noted from Democrats, for his resignation as, labor secretary let me go to our NBC. Political director and moderator of the press Chuck Todd Chuck, it's we, haven't heard him respond, to that directly but he does not appear, to be a man who is going to step down the. President, we understand urged him to go forward to reporters, today do we know why well. This is a classic attempt to damage control and it sounds like the president thinks that he's, got to be his own defender, and this is and this, is a case where I think in Trump world sometimes, he, wants to see how you do it's like wait a minute if he's going to put his political capital on the line for you he wants to see how you can, do defending, yourself so I think this is ultimately, a press conference for one person, as, far as his performance, is concerned. And. I'll be curious to see what the president's, reaction is. I think I. And. Stephanie, hit that he's. Trying to defend with something. That looks just terrible, in, through. Today's prism, at. The same time is he coming across as compelling that, he's that he's telling. The truth how, does he look there you know the way this president operates, Lester he's, going to care as much how this looks on mute as it. Does and what he's saying so. Ultimately. I, think. It's. Gonna be up to the president whether he deems that Acosta, did enough to put this away I don't, think he did all right Chuck, Todd thanks very much we'll continue to, monitor that news, conference to hear more of what Alex, Acosta, has to say and some of that reaction that, Chuck mentioned much more tonight on NBC, Nightly News and continuing, coverage on our NBC, news app for, now I'm Lester Holt NBC. News New York. I pulled. Up I I found, out the details of that meeting because I scratched my own head about it and I've provided. You a timeline, in a letter of the, negotiations. That make it very clear that this was negotiated, by career prosecutors, the. I'm gonna answer your question the. Meeting. That was alleged, was. A breakfast, meeting that took place after, the, agreement, was negotiated not. Before, the agreement was signed in September, after. The agreement was negotiated one. Of Epstein's attorneys, asked. For, a meeting asked for a hearing I was, giving a speech I was staying at a hotel I agreed. To have a brief meeting I believe at 7:00 a.m. rather. Than open the office I spoke, with that attorney. And then, I referred that attorney to the career prosecutors, nothing. Changed, in that agreement they, continued, to litigate, the matter they continued to peel the matter to Washington, and nothing. Changed with one one, exception, there, was an addendum, that. Made clear that. Epstein, had to pay for any, attorney. That. A victim, that. Represented, a victim in the cases, against. Epstein. And so. Yes. I met with opposing, counsel it, was a breakfast. Meeting because I was staying at the hotel it was after. After. Not before and not part of the negotiations. But it was after. The agreement had, been negotiated. And that, could be confirmed simply by looking at the date on the agreement and the, date on the meeting. So. Number. One the agreement, had already been locked in place so the agreement wasn't going to change before, that agreement you. Know I was very careful to not negotiate this, our career, attorneys, negotiated. The agreement secondly. I'd point out we live in a city where people have breakfast, meetings all the time you don't open an office at seven o'clock in the morning, just to, have a meeting you have it over breakfast. Yeah. Let. Me let me let me do this i I had, I'd called you and I'll come back to you I'll come back to you I. I wanted, to give in an opportunity I'll come back to you in a minute thank. You sir you've. Mentioned several times that, you and, the, prosecutors, in your office, weren't. Sure, that you could secure a win in. This case but the very purpose, of the of the CVRA is, to give the victims an opportunity, to.
Weigh In and a federal judge ruled, that you broke, federal law by not doing so do you think that your thinking would have been different had you followed, the law and consulted. The victims so um first, let me, let. Me point out we follow department, policy, department. Policy, at the time made, very clear and, this. Is in a written statement that, was subsequently, issued by, what is called the office of legal counsel which, is the chief policy. Making the, chief legal arm. Of the Department of Justice, that. These, situations. With non prosecution. Agreements, are not. Covered, by the CBR, a at the time. Because. The CBR a according, to department policy, does not attach. Until. A case, is actually. Brought now, I understand, that the judge had, a different, view and I understand that the judges, view was, that department, policy, did, not comply, with the law and that's. The way our system works our system, works in that, a judge can say what the department policy is is not, consistent. With the law now, let me also point out since then a few years ago Congress, amended, the CVR a and Congress, amended it explicitly. To. Say that non-prosecution. Agreement, would. Be in fact covered, and that is a good thing as, I sit at my confirmation, hearing you, know we expect a lot more transparency. If. We. Had had more transparency, perhaps, this. Case would have gone differently. I've. Laid, out the reasons why. There. Were concerns, about. Providing. All the details to the victims before. Epstein. Fled. But. The. Department of Justice has been very clear, throughout multiple presidential. Administrations. Throughout, multiple attorneys. General, that. The department's, position is, that there was no violation of the law. Would. You make your, name. Would. You make this same agreement today. So. These questions are always very difficult, because. We. Now have. 12. Years. Of. Knowledge. And hindsight, and we live in a very different, world. Today's. World treats, victims, very, very differently. Today's. World does, not allow some, of the victims shaming that could have taken place at trial 12. Years ago today's. World. Understands. That when interviewing, victims when a listening testimony, that, testimony, can be sometimes, contradictory, that. Memories. Are, difficult. And. So. I don't think we, can say, you. Know take a case that is this, old and. Fully. Know how it play out today I. Understand. What the victims say and I'm. Not here, to, try to say that I can stand in their shoes or. That I can address. Their. Concerns I'm. Here, to say we. Did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein, go, to, jail, he, needed, to go to, jail. He. Needed he needed. He. Needed to go to jail and that. Was that. Was the focus, Jon fun Jon. Jon. So. The. Victims. Of which, we were aware. Were. Part of this and and, under the agreement in the Southern District, of Florida the.
Investigation, Ceased and they had the opportunity to, proceed Sibley, that, does not mean that the investigation, had to cease nationwide, and as, we see today as, we saw New York. Investigations. Could certainly and, obviously. Have proceeded, in other districts. So. I have. Been I started, one of the first human trafficking, task force's at, the Department of Justice I have. Been aggressive, prosecuting, human trafficking, we. Stood. We. Stepped in in this case and we. Stopped, a bad, state. And. So. I understand, from. Today's perspective that, people scratch their heads and they say why. Here's. The question, to ask how, many other, times have you seen a US, Attorney's, Office. Intervene. In a. State matter and say. Stop. The state plea because, it is in sufficient. Yes. Earlier. This year it was disclosed, that they're going that they're doing a review into how you and other prosecutors, in your office handled this matter what. Is the status, of that what exactly, are they looking at will you submit to an interview even, though you're no longer with the Justice Department and if they find any misconduct. Will you resign. First. I don't know what the status of that is I, would refer that to the Office of Professional Responsibility I, don't speak for them I will, clearly submit, for an interview even though I don't have to I. Think what they do is important. The Office of Professional Responsibility will. Have access to the full record they will have access to all the facts they all have access to the, FBI reports, they'll have access to the victim introduced they can look at this matter, in its, totality. And, and so I think it is important that they proceed, I will, gladly, be part of it and and, I think what they will find is that the office acted appropriately. It's. Yummy shelf sender with PBS newshour, as labor, secretary you've, tried repeatedly to cut a program, that deals with with human trafficking in the Labor Department by up to 80% going, before Congress, advocating, for that why, should people trust you to focus on human trafficking and protect victims if you've done that and I'm like a follow-up question. So, you're referring, to grants. That go to foreign countries. For, foreign, country.
Labor. Related, work as part. Of the budget every year those. Grants, have been removed as have other grants, for foreign countries and let me just add as part of the budget every year those grants are put right back in by Congress, this. Is what happens in Washington and, I fully suspect that those grants will remain in this year following. Sources. Of told me that the president encouraged, you to hold this press conference can you speak a little bit about what the president told you ahead of this press conference and whether you're you're here to give a message to the president are you fighting for your job or are, you trying to send a message to victims and if so what is the message to victims who say, they don't trust you anymore so, first. I'm not about to talk about conversations. With the president and I'm. Not here to send any signal, to the president, I think it's important, a lot, of questions, were raised and I this has reached the point that I think it's important to have the public hearing I think it's important that these questions, be passed and answered. And, and, as to a message to victims. The. Message is you need to come forward I heard. This morning that another victim came forward and made, horrendous. Horrendous. Allegations. Allegations. That, should never happen to any, woman. Much, less a young girl and. Has. Victims, come forward these, cases, can be brought and, they can be brought by the federal government, they can be brought by state attorneys, and they. Will be brought we have seen in the last few, years, cases brought against individuals, that got away with things for. Well over a decade and. You know it's important, to realize that people who are getting away with these people were not going to jail at all and. We're. Aware of those high-profile, cases and we've, seen. As victims come forward how. The justice, system deals. With them and so the message to, victims. Is come. Forward. Hi mr. secretary Richard madam CTV you just said victims need to come I'm sorry Richard Madden with CTV television you. Just said a moment ago the victim should come forward but, you still haven't, offered. An apology to them why is that. So. The. Victims should, come forward because the justice, system needs to hear from them and what, the victims went through is horrific what the victims continue to go through is horrific I've.
Seen, These videos I've. Seen the interviews. I'm. Sorry I've seen the interviews. On on television, of these victims, and in. Their stories, and and, so, it's. Hard, but. I also think it's important, that we understand, that the, men and women of my office, going. Back to 2006. And 2007, and 2008. Have. Spent their career, prosecuting. These types of cases and. In. Their heart in our, heart we were trying to do the right thing for these victims and so. This, is horrific this. Is awful. Each one of these cases is just. Devastating. And saddening. But. I also think it's important, to realize that the. Prosecutors. Were trying to do the, right thing, sir. Yeah, Jeff Roe from Daily Mail how are you are. You aware of alleged obstruction, of justice by. Mr. Epstein it, seemed to be been mentioned in that image in, a note and a bail memo by New York prosecutors, and did, he take every student to intimidate prosecutors, and if he did or harass witnesses, hamper. Witnesses if he did that why, would he get what's been beautiful what's been called a sweetheart I I can't, I can't comment on the New York case that that would not be. Appropriate. Case, in New York I can't comment sir, I'm. Curious who, it mean justice, at Neal McKay one American news who, at main justice reviewed. This case or your decision, and did you have any interaction. With robert, muller at the time so. I shared. A letter that. I wrote, to one of Epstein's defense attorneys and I shared that letter in part because it, shows much of the timeline, it shows how. Initially. The. The. Meetings. That took place were. Between. The in, July, between. The first assistant the criminal chief the Palm Beach the. Palm Beach office chief and a line attorney and two FBI agents with, absent attorneys you'll notice that the initial meeting has outlined in this letter who are all career, attorneys how. They presented the terms how. Epstein's. Attorneys, were dissatisfied, and. Asked for a meeting with me how, I subsequently. Returnees. Along, with all the career officials, how, at that meeting we then invited, the chief of the. Child Exploitation obscenity. Section from the Department of Justice to travel, down, because. One of them you, know one of the things we wanted to make sure of was that he had going, back to the earlier question about the ABA rule that, we had sufficient, evidence to proceed ethically. And. Then it details, a little bit on how Epstein's. Counsels, appealed, the, decisions, to Washington, I'd refer you to the record you know one of the really disturbing things. About this case is there's. A record here the. Documents, that I shared today we've. Shared previously with media yet. I've seen no reference, to any. Of these documents, in the effective of. Some of these prosecutors. There. Is a record, all, these documents are publicly, available and, could. Have been pulled up by anyone in this room and, so, and, and so you know. There. There is a record, that, will you know I wasn't at main justice I do not have a full list of the individuals, that that. Reviewed, this matter at main justice I can tell you, the. Individuals, reference, in this letter and. And I would refer you to the record I this was 12, years ago I do not have a full list of the individuals, that review this at main justice. Well. As. The record makes clear individuals. To remain justice, were involved. Fairly. Early on and we're certainly, aware of it and and. I think if you look at the record it will become clear that our decisions, were appealed, again, and again to, two main justice, serve.
So. The deal you negotiated, resulted. In two things one. Is that the case ended, with mr., Epstein pleading to state prostitution, charges and another thing that did was i immunized, his co-conspirators. So, two questions did, you consider his victims in that case to be prostitutes and why, did you immunize his co-conspirators. So. The, answer to were, the victims prostitutes, no. Victims. They were victims. End of. Story, they were victims. The. Second part of that is in the. Purpose, in this case was. To bring Epstein. To. Jail. To put him behind bars and so. There were other individuals, that may have been involved that, in. Any. Type of conspiracy. They're individuals, around someone, the. Focus, really is on the top player, and that's. Where our focus appropriately, was, let. Me uh let me also say something because a lot has been said about this 13, month. When. We proceeded, the. Expectation. Was that it would be an 18-month, sentence, and the, expectation, was that it would be served in jail. And. So. This work release was. Yes, and. I've been on record as far back as 2011. Saying. That it was not what was bargained for and it was not what. We expected but this, was a state court plea and, because. It was a state court plea the, terms of confinement, were under, the jurisdiction of, the state of Florida, and so. The outrage, over that 13-month, you. Know getting, to to, leave jail is entirely. Appropriate. When. We entered into this. We. I at, least fully. Thought, that, he would be spending the time in jail, that's, what we mean by someone, going to jail. In. Spanish, I would, really appreciate it. I'll tell you what if you answer, the you want if you ask me a question in Spanish I will answer in Spanish is that fair I, was. Trying to get. No. Atrophic, calling, a. Korean. Kata Senor where a la cárcel here. Incredibly, importante, que, él fuera a la cárcel, okay. Donde, él tenía que da e. Bonito. De Soto persona, en el pais. And. No, notice. Okay. Por. Eso se. Hace. Con la víctima y. Las. Víctimas, and so freedom mucho, anything. Soon. Yo. A me. Rado alguna the law saying the, lost interviews, the law say ayuda. Me they introduced, a de. La gente vistas, en. Para. La me have a mess. Traffic al a trataron. De hacer lo que podían. Go. Look. At them young if the castle. Was. To come forward what's, your message specifically. To those who did come forward and felt, let down by you. They. Can't vote, the. Victims came forward and, there were several victims you know I believe that in one, of the filings, the Department, of Justice. Talked. To several of the victims and some, of the victims just didn't, want any, any. Public, notoriety. Other. Victims, have provided, interviews, and said they felt left, let down that they were let down these. Are really, hard cases. The. Prosecutors. In my office and, I. Were focused, on putting, him in jail I provided. The information from. The career attorney as to why there were concerns, if we went to trial, and. It. Became, clear, that they were going to receive money, if, he. Was convicted, how that would impeach, their credibility and and, today that. Would proceed very differently, because the victim shaming is is just not accepted, but. The circumstances of, trials and what juries, would. Consider, 12. Years ago was different. And so these were the judgments, that were made I understand. That that individuals. Will look at these judgments, and say well maybe a different judgment should have been made you, know you can always look at a play after the fact and say should it have been the safe play or should you have gone for the big score and ask. Which. Is the right outcome. But. I provided, these documents. So that you could hear from the, prosecutors, themselves, how these talk how this was being weighed sir. Justice a grand business, did, the Miami Herald reach out to you last November, and if so why don't you set the record straight on the breakfast meeting then. So. Media has reached out to me over the years about this I think it's very important, the Department, of Justice, is. The. Entity that is. Litigating, all these matters and quite. Honestly until, until. Recently, I haven't commented on this since 2011. Because. I think it's important, for the United States to litigate, cases through, the Department of Justice and if, former US Attorney's, responded. To media, inquiries about pending, cases and. This. Is a pending, case there was a live and there still is a live civil, matter, the, former US Attorney's responded, to media inquiries all the time we'd. Have havoc, in our justice, system you can't have a Department, of Justice as a litigating, entity with, US Attorney's giving press, statements, now your follow-up question may be why am i talking today and the. Answer is this has clearly reached a level where I, thought it was important, to have this kind of press conference, to take questions, and. To, provide these. Facts and these perspectives and.
I Understand, that individuals, may say this was not enough. But. This is the way it was viewed not, only by me but. By many back, in 2008. Yes. You. Said that the victims were not prostitutes, but, the, agreement. Was, he. Was jailed for, prostitution. Charges not for child support for, sex trafficking, can. You just leave, the. Agreement, the agreement was, this. Was a state here's here's why why this is hard this was, a state case he. Was. Arraigned. He, a state. Grand jury returned. A prostitution. Charge against. Him a solicitation. Charge if I recall that. Was a state grand jury he. Was allowed to self surrender by the State Attorney's, Office as. A result, of that single charge that would, have resulted in no jail time and. Ultimately. What. The agreement did was. Say. You have to go back and you have to plea to a more serious, state. Charge that, requires jail, time that requires. Registration and. Under. This Agreement you'll have a mechanism, for institution, but. The agreement, itself you, know ultimately the, state of Florida, and the State, Attorney's Office in Florida is a separate, sovereign the US Attorney does not determine, how. Those, offices. Run. Themselves or what charges, they bring I do, not, consider the victims prostitutes, I think, that is insulting, to them these, were victims. They were not just women victims they were children, victims. Secretary. I'm. Debra Saunders with the Las Vegas review-journal. Since. Mr., Epstein left jail, he's, been a public figure he's. Been. A man about town he, hasn't seemed particularly, contrite, about what, he did. What. Have you thought when you've seen him, you. Know what I've thought is I keep reading newspaper, articles, about pending investigations. Here or there you know if if, someone does a Google search they'll see that there were rumors of Investigations. Going on for the last ten years and, New. York finally stood up and stood. Up and they took one of those investigations, and they brought charges and in, all candor I wish it would have happened, I'm, glad, to see that it's happening now. He's. A you know he's a bad man and he, needs to be put away and. You. Know based on additional, allegations, that I saw this morning, there, are there multiple jurisdictions, whether. Federal or state that, that he's gonna have to answer to of a few a few more a few more questions. With. Me Harold I wanted to ask him follow through your answer the earlier question about the potential co-conspirators. Were, you confident, at the time that any, potential, additional co-conspirators. Didn't. Commit, sexual. Abuses against, underage girls like Epstein did even if it may have not have been same scale because some of those victims have, accused others of doing. Similar acts to them so, um. Let. Me see how I can address your question without running afoul of Department. Of Justice guidelines. If. My. Office, had been aware. Of individuals. Who committed acts. Such. As. Sexual. Abuse, you. Know my, office, it would not have been my position that, those individuals. Should, have been part of that kind of. It's. Not even a Muni deal should not have been part of that paragraph, and so so, I know that there are a lot of rumors, about who those individuals may. Or may not be I. Think, those rumors. Are. Misconstruing. The acts of the office with respect, to that particular paragraph, one. More question. Richard, Lardner from The Associated Press, secretary will you ever made aware at any point you're, handling this case. So. So. So so there has there has been reporting, to that effect and and, let me say there's. Been reporting, to a lot of effects in this, case not. Just now but over the years and, and. Again I would. You. Know I would hesitate to. Take this. Reporting. As fact. This. Was a case that was brought by our office, it was brought based on the facts and. And. I look at that reporting, and others I can't, address, it directly because of our our. Guidelines. But. I can tell you that that a lot of reporting, is just going. Down rabbit holes a few, a few a few more questions a few more questions have you asked a question yet. Yes. Sorry. I'm trying, to do it one question for first, okay.
Hi. Katie, Rodgers at the New York Times I'm just wondering what makes you so confident that the president is going to continue to have you serve there, have been several advisors of his who he stands he stands up for initially, but you're, about at the level where he has backed away before so what makes you so confident so look. I, am. Here to talk about this case I'm doing my job if at some point the president decides, that, I am NOT the best person to, do this job I respect, that that is his choice I serve at the pleasure of the president I, thought. Yesterday, he, was kind and any, showed great support, but. We. To remember we, are here, because. We are part of an administration that is creating jobs that. Is creating, growth that. Is really, transforming. Our economy and, focusing, it on you. Know the, the forgotten, man and woman and if at some point he says look you, know you're not the right person for, this, right now or for, you know you're, standing in the way I respect, that. To. Say, to these victims beyond, you should come forward that places a lot of burden on children, what. Else do you have to say you've avoided addressing. These these people directly so. So to. Be clear that is, not all, I said you. Know I think if. I recall and I obviously don't have a transcript, here but you, know what, I've said previously is, I. Have, seen these interviews, and I can't, I. Generally. Can't. Begin to fathom, what these victims have been through I don't. Think that anyone that has not been in this situation can. Begin to fathom the, closest, I can come is to think what would I feel, like if one of my girls was. Going through this and and I would be you. Know I'm not sure I can say the way I would feel in on the television, but. But. Even that is different, than what, the victims themselves went, through and so the. Point I'm trying to make is. Everything. That the victims have gone through, in these, cases is horrific and. And. Their, response, is entirely. Justified. At. The same time I think, it's important, to stand up for, the prosecutors. Of my former, office and make. Clear that what, they were trying to do was, help these, victims, they. Should not be. Portrayed. As individuals. That just didn't, care because they have spent a lifetime of, bringing. Cases, like. This they, are individuals. Who really, really, do care. Yes. Oh, hi. I'm Nikki Schwab New York Post how much of this do you think was Epstein. Getting special treatment because, of his enormous enormous, wealth and also political connections so. You, know I've heard a lot about that and. If. You go through the record you will see that in July, he. Was presented, with certain terms and, and. I laid this out in a letter an open letter that I wrote to address, some of these questions in 2011.
And He. Was presented with terms and, the. Office, throughout this, entire negotiation. And it took several, months from, July to what. December, through. These five months of negotiations. Stuck. To those terms you go to jail you. Register, and. You. Provide. Restitution. The original. Term was two years the. Office ultimately, agreed to 18 months. Register. It had to be an effect it had to be an offense where. There was registration, because the world needed to be unnoticed, that he was a sexual, predator and. It. Had, to be a situation, where, the victims, could seek, restitution, because, it wasn't just enough for. Him to go to jail and let me also say you, know I, restitution. Is also not enough you can never put victims, in. The, place they were before they were victimized, you can't unwind, history. But, restitution. Is important. Thank you very much. His. Attorneys. Certainly. Filed. Several, Appeals with main justice, I will. Again. Restate, when, the career attorneys met, with him they. Presented certain terms and the, office, stayed true to those terms throughout. Those. Terms did not change the agreement did not change no level. Of appeal to main justice, changed. The terms of these. Initial. In those agreements. For. You and the, proposed remedies, from Jane Doe and one and to one of their requests, is to can they just meet with you I know you're not apologizing, today but would you be willing to meet with them you, know that's a really that that's a really good question um this. Is currently in litigation and so I I don't want to I don't. Want to interfere with that litigation but let me just say I. Have. Monitored, this litigation. Without. You. Know I haven't monitored. Day-to-day I have never pulled a full record but I have watched it and I have seen what, these, victims have gone through and, and whatever this litigation, is concluded. I've, always had an open door policy and, I've always welcomed, the opportunity to sit down and. I think it'd be really healthy for prosecutors, to sometimes circle back and. And. Really. Hear about what, happened because we all have to learn you know one of the one of the questions that came up at my confirmation hearing, was. What would you do differently and, I alluded to this and, I said the world is much more transparent, we, expect, a lot more from government, we are a less, trust, in society we. Can wonder, whether that's right or wrong but we are a less trusting, society, today, in. Part. Because our. Culture. Expects. Transparency. And, so, to. Sit down and hear from victims how. This. Impacted. Them I think. Would be healthy for prosecutors. Generally, I can't, commit in this particular, case it's in litigation but I think that would be healthy for prosecutors, gentlemen thank you very much. You.