- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Reid Weingarten, the lead attorney for Jeffrey Epstein — the billionaire who’s facing major court action tied to both admitted and alleged prostitution and sexual abuse of underage girls — created a stir during his client’s arraignment hearing by seemingly shrugging off the fact that some victims, simply because of their young ages, were regarded, in the eyes of the law, as raped.

Eh, it’s only statutory, he said, shocking the court.

This is called Bad Lawyering.

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Hat tip Law & Crime for the report, which reads like this: “In an indictment unsealed Monday morning, prosecutors … alleged that Epstein, 66, ‘sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes … and created ‘a vast network of underage victims,’ some as young as 14 years old.” Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman, prosecutors argued that Epstein was an ‘extraordinary flight risk’ and should be denied bail and detained for the duration of his criminal trial” on sex trafficking charges.”

Enter Weingarten.

Enter Weingarten to defend his client and argue that no, Epstein should not be kept behind bars for the length of the trial because, by gosh, the government is just exaggerating the allegations — allegations that Florida authorities had already investigated and concluded were tied to prostitution.

And here’s where the eyebrows cock: Weingarten apparently told the court that because Epstein didn’t force any females serving as prostitutes to do anything against their will, and because sex trafficking statutes were aimed more at protecting girls from being gang-raped by “15-20 guys,” that he shouldn’t be charged with sex trafficking, Law & Crime reported.

Epstein was only guilty of “maybe a lot of prostitution,” Weingarten reportedly said.


As the judge shot back: “Isn’t it rape if the girls are underage?”

The sounds of silence — and then Weingarten said this: “Well,” he said, “statutory maybe.”

Law & Crime noted the laughter and gasps in the courtroom. After all, it’s not often an attorney seemingly admits his client committed rape — while arguing to the judge his client wasn’t guilty of rape.

And this is just the beginning.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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