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tv   Labor Secretary Acosta News Conference  CSPAN  July 11, 2019 6:03am-6:59am EDT

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or listen for free on the c-span radio app. you would like to hear the complete reading of the mueller report, listen on the free c-span radio app. volume one airs at saturday and sunday at 7:00 eastern. volume two will air. tuesdayy and also on 7:00 p.m. eastern. >> labor secretary alexander acosta held a news conference wednesday to explain his prior role as u.s. attorney for the southern district of florida in 2008 that led to a nonprosecution agreement for financier jeffrey epstein who is accused of sexual abuse and is now facing a new set of charges for sex trafficking. this news conference from labor department headquarters is just under an hour.
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sec. acosta: good afternoon. let me start by reiterating that i'm pleased that the new york prosecution is going forward. his acts are despicable and then you prosecution offers a better opportunity to more fully bring epstein to justice. in 2008, a major newspaper described the epstein prosecution like this. " a florida grand jury, a grand jury convened by the district attorney of palm beach county, had charged epstein with a lesser offense. at that time, the epstein legal team was elated.
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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. that was the week, more than 10 years ago, that epstein went to jail. times have changed and coverage of this case has really 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 u.s. attorney's office. in 2006, a grand jury convened by the state attorney of palm beach county reviewed the evidence and recommended a single charge. that charge would have resulted in no jail time at all. no registration as a sexual offender.
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no restitution for the 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, as this 2000 eight article gone scum presented the ultimatum -- plead guilty to more serious charges, charges that require jail time, registration, and restitution, or we roll the dice and bring a federal indictment.
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without the work of our prosecutors, epstein would've gotten away with just that state charge. many today question the terms of that ultimatum. what's called the nonprosecution agreement. a good prosecutor will tell you that these cases are complex. especially when they involve inldren, and even more so 2006. i've shared with those in this room today and i will make it available publicly an affidavit filed by a career prosecutor in a simple matter related to the epstein case. she talks about the challenges faced. she talks about the victims being scared and traumatized. refusing to testify to react and how some victims actually exonerated epstein. most had significant concerns about their identities being revealed. the acts that they had faced
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were horrible and they didn't want people to know about them. she goes on to write, "after the fact, people allege that epstein would've been evilly convicted. as a prosecutor who handled the 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 are hard. they require prosecutors 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?
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if going to trial is viewed as rollole of the dice -- the of the dice? the goal here was straightforward -- put epstein behind bars, ensure he registers 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 is unusual for a federal prosecutor to intervene
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in a state matter such as this. we've seen cases recently, different set of facts, i don't want anyone to say i comparing am these cases. but we have seen cases where state prosecutors let folks go with no sentence and people shake their heads. in this case, the federal office intervened for the plea was taken and said, stop. because it backed plea was taken at the state level, you are going to face serious federal issues. today we know a lot more about how victims trauma impacts their testimony. this too is important. our juries are more accepting of contradictory statements, understanding that traumatized memories act differently. and today, our judges don't allow victims shaming by defense
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attorneys. i have viewed the victim interviews. they are hard to watch. because i know that my former colleagues, the men and women of my office, wanted to have them. i wanted to help them to that is why we have intervened. that is what the prosecutors of insisted did, they that he go to jail, and they put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator. his actions absolutely deserve a stiffer sentence. for years, there have 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. so i absolutely welcome the new
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york prosecution. it is the absolutely right thing to do, and i happy to take questions. eric? reporter: how would you describe your relationship with the -- the cycleen use with epstein is changing that. secretary acosta: my relationship with the president is outstanding. he has publicly made clear that i've got his support. he spoke yesterday in the oval office. he and i has often. readingdd, i keep articles about my relationship , and heand mr. mulvaney called this morning to say that our relationship is excellent, too and that any articles to the .s"trary are in his words, "b
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i am here, i am defending this case, it is my job. tom? reporter: secretary, a lot of people 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 did not hear back from you until it was too late. do you owe them an apology ? -- a cost ofsh acosta you are : raising the issue of victim notification. in the documents i have circulated, have addressed that issue as well. the career prosecutor in this case had a difficult decision to make. she didn't make 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
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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 he would have to plead no contest and provide them with restitution. these are the words of the carrier prosecutor, 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 victim's credibility." her concerns were not hypothetical. one of epstein's attorneys had already asked one of the victims, quote, " now tell me about when the federal prosecutors told you about getting money."
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so when the agreement was signed, shortly after the agreement was signed epstein's , counsel indicated that epstein may not comply with the agreement. the agreement was appealed at various levels in the justice department. and she details in this affidavit, an affidavit that is also corroborated by the f.b.i. case agent, how she and he and the office was concerned about 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 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 a t trial that their testimony was compromised. and so, when it was fun of it clear that epstein would comply with the agreement, she talks about how she made efforts to
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notify the victims. how that was a friday afternoon at 4:15, and that she learned that the state had scheduled for 8:30 the following monday. she talks about how over the weekend, she made every effort to notify the victims at that time. [reporters shouting questions simultaneously] i wanted to draw your whontion to the survivor has given an interview saying -- [inaudible]
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did you believe the evidence against epstein would be enough to secure a conviction beyond reasonable doubt? why was it not in the interest of justice to charge him with these crimes? secy. acosta: again, i would refer you to the documents i have provided. there is a big gulf between sufficient evidence to go to trial, and sufficient evidence to be confident in the outcome of the trial. so, if i could come and i will give you a follow-up in a minute case,--in this provided a letter that outlined some of the timeline of this. the career2007,
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staff from my office meant and said, these are the four points but 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. it's one of the tough questions in these cases: what is the value of a secured guilty plea with registration versus rolling the dice? i know that in 2019, looking back on 2008, things may look different. judgment of the prosecutors with dozens of years of experience. if you look through that letter, he will see that there was not a single person making those decisions. one follow-up. [inudible]
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thus i understand you are saying now that it was never a slamdunk. it seems like you are making the case that you held the possibility of a federal indictment over the possibility of having epstein plead guilty. that in itself -- i do not think that the office filing it the failed the aba standards by negotiating strongly and forcefully. reporter: standing here today, are you saying that you feel that you did everything you could, you got the best deal you could get, and you have no regrets? secy. acosta: we believe that we proceeded appropriately. that based on the evidence and
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haveust my opinion, but i shared the affidavit, but based on the evidence, there was value to getting a guilty plea and having him register. look, no regrets is a very hard question. at my confirmation hearing, i was asked a similar question. one of the issues that i raised, is we expect a lot more transparency today. as you watch these victim interviews, it is very obvious that the victims feel that this was not a sufficient outcome. these victims were traumatized. we can't begin to understand what they went through. and they look at this and they say but why? ,so you always look back and say, what if? what i can say is, at the time, and i provided a timeline, i have provided information about the individuals involved, this
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was the view of the office. there is a value to a sure guilty plea because letting him walk, because letting what the states attorney was letting to do go forward, would've been absolutely awful. reporter: in light of the attention this week on your this back in 2008, victims of sex trafficking, i wanted to ask about your role today as the secretary of labor. you have oversight of certifying visas for victims of human trafficking including sex trafficking. just last week, your wage division issued a new policy that would essentially allow the agency -- it is being criticized by a lot of people for a loan
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the agency to completely remove itself or virtually remove itself from continuing to certify these visas by referring them to other agencies. what was the purpose of that? secy. acosta: if you read the policy, that is not what it does. our administrator after she was confirmed came in and reviewed the policies. she put in place a requirement that a criminal prosecutor be consulted anytime one of these issues is brought to the division's attention. that seems very reasonable. don't we want criminal prosecutors to be consulted whenever someone says that they are a victim of trafficking? that prosecutor will be consulted. and even if that prosecutor says this is not a case that we are going forward with, the division will still consider whether to issue that visa on the facts. so that is a mischaracterization of her decision and her policy.
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>> could you go into more detail about where and how you exactly negotiated this deal? did you meet with epstein's attorneys alone at a marriott hotel? secy. acosta: i've read this. one of the things i find interesting is how facts become facts because they are in the newspaper as opposed to the record. i found out the details of that meeting -- i scratched my own head about it -- and i have provided you a timeline and a letter of the negotiation to make it very clear that this was negotiated by carrier prosecutors. 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.
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i agreed to have a brief meeting i believe at 7:00 rather than a.m. open the office. i spoke with that attorney. then i referred that attorney to the career prosecutors. nothing changed in that agreement. they continued to litigate the matter and appeal the matter to washington. and nothing changed, with one exception. there was an addendum that made clear that epstein had to pay for any attorney that represented a victim in the cases against epstein. so, yes, i met with opposing counsel. it was a breakfast meeting because i was staying at the hotel. it was after the agreement had have been negotiated, not before. that can be confirmed simply by looking at the date of the agreement and the date on the meeting. reporter: now, do you think it
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was a great idea to do that? secy. acosta: number one, the agreement had already been locks in place, so the agreement wasn't going to change. before that agreement, i was careful not to negotiate this. our career attorneys negotiated the agreement. secondly, i would point out, we live in a city where people have breakfast meetings all the time. you don't open an office at 7:00 in the morning just to have a meeting. you have it over breakfast. reporter: is that standard for a non-prosecution agreement to include -- secy. acosta: i'll come back to you. reporter: don't the young girls -- secy. acosta: i will come back to you in a minute. reporter: you 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 cbra is to give the victims an opportunity to weigh in. a federal judge ruled that you broke federal law by not doing
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so. do you think you're thinking would have been different had you follow the law and consulted the victims? secy. acosta: let me point out, we follow department policy. department policy at the time make very clear, and this is in a written statement subsequently issued by what is called the office of legal counsel, which is the chief legal arm of the department of justice. that these situations with nonprosecution agreements are cbra atered by the cb the time. does not attach until a case is actually brought. i understand that the judge had a different view. i understand that the judge's view was that the department policy did not comply with the law. that's the way our system works. our system works in that a judge can say what the department
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policy is, is not consistent with the law. let me also point out, since then, congress amended the cvra it explicitlyded to say that nonprosecution agreements would be in fact, covered. that's a good thing. as i said it my confirmation hearing, we expect a lot more transparency. if we had had more transparency, perhaps this case would've gone differently. i've laid out the reasons why there were concerns about providing all the details to the victims before epstein pled. but the department of justice has been very clear throughout multiple presidential administrations, throughout multiple attorneys general that the departments position is that there was no violation of the law.
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your name? reporter: i caitlin collins for am cnn. would you make the same agreement today? secy. acosta: 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 differently. today's world does not allow some of the victim shaming that could've taken place at trial. today's world understands that when interviewing victims, that testimony can be sometimes contradictory. that memories are difficult. i don't think we can say, take a case that is this old and fully know how it would play out today. reporter: but these victims say
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you failed them. secy. acosta: i understand what the victims say. 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 was out of jail before any of the victims had found out about this agreement. secy. acosta: he needed to go to jail. that was, that was the focus. john fox. john? reporter: can i ask you a question about -- >> peter alexander from nbc. dozens of girls were allegedly molested. why didn't you just keep investigating him? secy. acosta: so, the victims of which we were aware were part of this.
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under the agreement, in the southern district of florida, the investigation ceased and they had the opportunity to proceed. that does not mean that the investigation had to cease nationwide. as we see today, as we saw in new york, investigations could certainly and obviously have proceeded in other districts. reporter: a follow-up, how can you be interested to enforce human trafficking laws as secretary of labor given your history with this case? secy. acosta: i started one of the first human trafficking task forces at the department of justice. i have been aggressive prosecuting human trafficking. we stepped in in this case. we stopped a bad state plea. i understand that from today's perspective, people scratch their heads and say, why? here's the question to ask. how many other times have you seen a u.s. attorney's office intervene in a state matter and
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say, stop the state plea because it is insufficient. reporter: i am from reuters. i want to ask a question about the office of professional responsibility. year, it was disclosed that they are 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 are no longer with the justice department? and if they find any misconduct, will you resign? secy. acosta: 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 will have access to all the f.b.i. reports.
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they will have access to the victim interviews. they can look at this matter in its totality. so i think it is important that they proceed. i will gladly be part of it. i think what they will find is that the office acted appropriately. >> as labor secretary, you tried repeatedly to cut a program that deals with human trafficking by in the labor department by up to 80%, going before congress in and advocating for that. why should people trust you to focus on human trafficking and protect the victim, if you have done that? i would like a follow-up question. secy. acosta: you are 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. that me add, as part of the budget every year, those grants
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are put by congress. this is what happens in washington. i fully suspect that those grants will remain in this year. your follow-up? >> my follow-up question is, sources told me that the president encouraged you to hold his press conference. can you speak about what the president told you ahead of the press conference, and whether you are here to give up message for the president? are you fighting for your job, or are you trying to send a message to the victims? what is the message to victims who say they don't trust you anymore? secy. acosta: first of all, i am not about to talk about conversations with the president. i'm not here to send any signal to the president. i think it's important, a lot of questions were raised. this has reached the point that it's important to have a public hearing. it's important that these questions be asked and answered. as to your message to the victims, the message is, you need to come forward. i heard this morning that another victim came forward. and made around us, horrendous horrendous,-- made
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horrendous allegations, allegations but should never happen to any woman, much less a younger woman. as victims comes forward, these cases can be brought by the statel government, by 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. it's important to realize that people were getting away with these, people were not going to jail at all. we are aware of those high-profile cases. we've seen as victims come forward how the justice system deals with them. so the message to victims is, come forward. let me take a few more. >> you just said victims need to come forward. but still haven't offered an apology to them, why is that? secy. acosta: so, the victims
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should come forward because the justice system needs to hear from them. what the victims went through thick. what the victims continued to go through this horrific. i've seen these videos. i've seen the interviews on television of these victims. it's hard. i also think it's important that we understand that the men and women of my office, going back to 2006-2008, have spent their career prosecuting these types of cases and in your heart, in no heart, we were trying to do the right thing for these victims. so, this is horrific. this is awful. each one of these cases is just devastating and saddening. but i also think it is important to realize that the prosecutors
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were trying to do the right thing. sir? reporter: are you aware of alleged obstruction of justice by mr. epstein? it seemed to be mentioned in a bail memo by new york prosecutors. did he take efforts to harass prosecutors and temper witnesses? if he did -- secy. acosta: i can't comment on the new york case. that would not be appropriate. reporter: i am talking about in florida. did he obstruct justice? secy. acosta: i cannot comment. reporter: i am curious, who at main justice reviewed this case or your decision? and did you have any interaction with robert mueller at the time? secy. acosta: i shared a letter that i wrote to one of epstein's defense attorneys. i shared the letter in part because it shows much of the
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timeline, it shows how, initially, the meetings that took place were between the first assistant, the criminal chief, the palm beach office chief, and the line attorney and two fbi agent, with epstein's attorneys. you will notice that the initial meeting as outlined in this letter were all career attorneys. how they presented the terms, how epstein's attorneys were dissatisfied and asked for a meeting with me. how i subsequently met with his attorneys along with all career officials. how at that meeting, we been childd the chief of the -- of the department of justice to travel down. one of the things we wanted to make sure of was that we had sufficient evidence to proceed ethically. and then it details a little bit
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how epstein's counsel appeals the decision to washington. i refer you to the record. one of the disturbing things about this case is there is a record here. todaycument that i shared we have shared previously with the media, yet i have seen no reference to any of these documents and the perspective of some of these prosecutors. there is a record. all these documents are publicly available and could've been pulled up by anyone in this room. there is a record that will -- i wasn't at main justice. i do not have a full list of the individuals that reviewed this matter at main justice. i can tell you the individuals are referenced in this letter. i would refer you to the record. this was 12 years ago. i do not have a full list of individuals that reviewed this at main justice. reporter: [indiscernible]
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secy. acosta: is the record makes clear, the individuals from main justice were involved fairly early on and were certainly aware of it. i think if you look at the record, it will become clear that our decisions were appealed again and again to main justice. reporter: so the deal that you negotiated resulted in two things, one is that the case ended with mr. exton pleading to pleading totein state prosecution charges, and the second thing was that it immunized his co-conspirators. two questions, did you consider the victims in that case to be prostitutes? why did you immunize his co-conspirators? secy. acosta: the answer to, were the victims prostitutes, no. victims were victims. end of story. they were victims. the second part of that is, the purpose in this case was to bring epstein to jail. to put him behind bars.
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there were other individuals that may have been involved. in any type of conspiracy, there are individuals around someone. the focus is on the top layer. that's where our focus appropriately was. let me also say something. a lot has been said about this. when we proceeded, the expectation was that it would be an 18-month sentence. the expectation was that it would be served in jail. this work release was complete b .s. i have been on record as far back as 2011 saying it was not bargained for, and it was not what we expected. this was a state court plea. because it was a state court plea, the terms of confinement were under the jurisdiction of the state of florida. so the outrage over that 13 months, getting to leave jail, is entirely appropriate.
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when we entered into this, i at least fully thought that he would be spending the time in jail. that's what we mean by somebody going to jail. reporter: [inaudible] if i can get a brief statement in spanish, i would really appreciate it. secy. acosta: i'll tell you what, if you ask me a question in spanish, i will answer in spanish. reporter: i was trying to get a brief statement so i could go over with what everyone already said. secy. acosta: [speaking spanish]
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reporter: [speaking in spanish] acosta: [speaking in spanish] let me go to someone else. reporter: you said earlier that was tossage to victims
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come forward. what is the message specifically to those who did come forward and felt let down by you? secy. acosta: victims came forward. there were several victims. i believe that in one of the filings, the department of justice talked to several of the victims. some of the victims just didn't want any public notoriety. other victims had provided interviews and said they felt 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 have provided 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. today, that would proceed very
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differently, because victim shaming is just not accepted. but the circumstances of trial and what juries would consider 12 years ago was different. judgments thathe were made. i understand that individuals will look at these judgments and say, maybe a different judgment should have been made. you can always look at a play after the fact in say, should it have been the safe play or should you have gone for the big score? and asked, which is the right outcome? but i provided these documents so that you could hear from the prosecutors themselves how these things were being weighed. sir? heraldr: did the miami reach out to you last november? if so, why didn't you said the record straight on the breakfast meeting then? secy. acosta: the media has reached out to me over the years. the department of justice is the entity that is litigating all of these matters. quite honestly, until recently,
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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. if former u.s. attorneys responded to media inquiries -- this is a cases pending case, it is still a live civil matter -- if u.s. attorneys respond to media inquiries all the time, we would have havoc in our justice system. you can't have the department of justice as a mitigating entity with u.s. attorneys giving interviews. why am i talking today? this is clearly reaching the level where i thought it was important to have this kind of press conference, to take questions, and to provide these facts and perspectives. 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.
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reporter: you said that the victims were not prostitutes, but the agreement was -- he was jailed for prostitution charges. not for child sex trafficking. can you just explain what the distinction was? secy. acosta: here's why this is hard. this was a state case. he was arraigned, a state grand jury returned a prostitution charge against him, a solicitation charge. 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've resulted in no jail time. ultimately, what the agreement did was say, you have to go back and you have to plead to a more
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serious state charge that requires jail time, that requires registration, and under this agreement you will have a mechanism for restitution. but the agreement itself -- ultimately, the state of florida and the state's attorney's office in florida is a separate sovereign. the u.s. 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. reporter: mr. secretary, 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? secy. acosta: i keep reading
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newspaper articles about pending investigations here or there. if someone does a google search, they will see that there were rumors of investigations going on for the last 10 years. new york finally stood up and they took one of those investigations and brought charges. in all candor, i wish it would have happened. i'm glad to see it's happening now. he's a bad man. he needs to be put away. you know, based on additional allegations that i saw this morning, there are multiple jurisdictions, whether federal or state, that he's going to have to answer to. a few more questions. wanted to follow-up on your answer to the previous question about 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 not have been in
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detail, because some of those victims have accused others of doing similar acts to them. secy. acosta: 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, my office would not have been part of that kind of immunity. -- it would not have been my position that those individuals should have been part of that kind of immunity. it is not even immunity -- should not have been part of that paragraph. 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 his act that particular paragraph. one more question. reporter: mr. secretary, were any pointade aware of
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in your handling of this case if mr. epstein was and intelligence assets of some sort? secy. acosta: there has been reporting to that effect. levy say, there's been reporting to a lot of affects in this case. not just now but over the years. again, i would, 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. i can't address it directly because of our guidelines. i can tell you that a lot of reporting is just going down rabbit holes. a few more questions. have you asked a question yet? how about in front of you? yes? i'm trying to do one question per person. reporter: can i go ahead? katie rogers with the new york times.
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i am just wondering what makes you so confident that the president will continue to have you serve? there have been several advisors of his whom he stands up for initially, what makes you so confident? what makes you so confident? secy. acosta: i'm here to talk about this case. i'm doing my job. if the president decides that i'm 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. he showed great support. we have 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 the forgotten men and women. if at some point he says, look, you are not the right person for this right now, or you are standing in the way, i respect that.
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reporter: do you really have nothing else to say to these beyond, youodd, -- should come forward, but places a lot of burden on children. what else you have to say? you've avoided addressing these people directly. why is that? secy. acosta: to be clear, that is not all i said. i think, if i recall, i don't have the transcript here, but what i have said previously is, i have seen these interviews, and i generally can't begin to fathom what these victims have been through. i don't think that anyone who has not been in this situation can begin to fathom. the closest i could come is to think, what would i feel like if one of my girls was going through this? i am not sure i can say the way i would feel on television, but from whatis different the victims themselves went through. so the point i am trying to make
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is, everything that the victims have gone through in these cases is horrific. their response is entirely justified. at the same time, i think it is 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 likeime of bringing cases this. they are individuals who really, really do care. yes? reporter: nikki schwab from the new york post. how much of this was epstein getting special treatment because of his enormous wealth and also, political connections? secy. acosta: i've heard a lot about that. if you go through the record, you will see that in july, he was presented with certain
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terms. and i laid this out in an open letter that i wrote to address some of these questions in 2011. he was presented with terms. the office, throughout this entire negotiation, and it took several months, from july to december, through these five months of negotiations stock 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. it had to be an offense. where there was registration, because of the world needed to be on notice that he was a sexual predator. and it had to be a situation where the teams could seek restitution. it wasn't just enough for him to go to jail. let me also say, restitution is also not enough.
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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. reporter: how powerful were his lawyers? did they put pressure on you? did someone at d.o.j. tell you or order you to try to do with a deal with jeffrey epstein? secy. acosta: 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 points in those agreements.
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ma'am? reporter: i just had a question for you. e of the victims' requests is to continue to meet with you. i know you are not apologizing today but would you be willing to meet with them? secy. acosta: that's a really good question. this is currently in litigation. i don't want to interfere with that litigation. but let me just say, i have .onitored this litigation i haven't monitored day today, i have never pulled of the full record, but i have watched it and i have seen what these victims have gone through. isnever this investigation concluded, i have always had an open door policy and have always welcomed the opportunity to sit down. it would be healthy for prosecutors to sometimes circle back and really hear about what happened. because we all have to learn. one of the questions that came up at my confirmation hearing was, what would you do
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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 trusting society. we can wonder whether that's right or wrong, but we are a less trusting society today, in culture expects transparency. so to sit down and here from victims how this impacted them, i think would be healthy for prosecutors generally. comment on this particular case, it is under legislation, but i think it would be healthy for prosecutors generally. thank you very much. [reporters shouting questions simultaneously] [cameras shuttering] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] ♪ a presidential leadership survey taken between 2000-2017, woodrow wilson dropped from six to 11 place and bill clinton rises from the 31st two the 15th spot. what is your president's rank? none more on c-span's the presidents. it is great vacation reading. available wherever books are sold or on presidents. here is a look at our live coverage thursday. on c-span, the house is back at 10:00 a.m. for general speeches with legislative business at noon. members continue work on a $733 billion bill that sets defense programs and policy. on c-span2, the senate is considering exiv


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