The Justice Department has opened an investigation into its treatment of Jeffrey Epstein, a multimillionaire serial sexual abuser, who signed a deal with prosecutors resulting in just 13 months in prison, the department said in a letter released Wednesday.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent the letter to Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican, who had a demanded a probe into its handling of the Epstein case.
The Justice Department will investigate whether its attorneys “may have committed professional misconduct” in resolving the Epstein case.
Epstein, a sex offender, was accused by 36 girls of molestation. He faced life in prison on sex trafficking charges, but skated on two prostitution counts, serving just over a year.
Mr. Sasse, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, praised the decision to open a probe.
“Jeffrey Epstein is a child rapist and there’s not a single mom or dad in America who shouldn’t be horrified by the fact that he received a pathetically soft sentence,” he said.
“The victims of Epstein’s child sex trafficking ring deserve this investigation —and so do the American people and the members of law enforcement who work to put these kinds of monsters behind bars,” Mr. Sasse continued.
In December, Mr. Sasse sent a letter to the Justice Department demanding an investigation into Epstein’s lenient sentence. The letter came days after the Miami Herald published an investigation detailing that federal prosecutors kept Epstein’s sentencing quiet and protected some of his accomplices.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who was a former U.S. Attorney for Miami, signed the deal, which granted Epstein and four co-conspirators immunity. Mr. Acosta also consented to have the agreement sealed until after it was approved by a federal judge, blocking victims from learning about the deal.