, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the Palm Beach Daily News: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com:
Epstein sex abuse accusers to get their day in court
By Jane Musgrave Posted Nov 30, 2018 at 5:20 PM Updated Nov 30, 2018 at 5:20 PM
WEST PALM BEACH — Ten years after Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein [1] inked an infamous plea deal that allowed [2] him to escape federal prosecution on charges that he had sex with dozens of teenage girls [3], the salacious allegations will finally be aired next week in a Palm Beach County courtroom.

The long-simmering accusations [4] — which have sullied the reputations of famed civil rights attorney Alan Dershowitz, former South Florida U.S. Attorney and current U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, Britain’s Prince Andrew and others — are key to a trial that pits Epstein against an attorney who represents several of the convicted sex offender’s young victims.

Much anticipated Jeffrey Epstein civil case set for Dec. 4: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/much-anticipated-jeffrey-epstein-civil-case-trial-set-for-dec/AQHLBwDP1JUI6FfsFhuIQL/

The 65-year-old Epstein, who spends most of his time in his New York penthouse apartment or at his estate in the Virgin Islands, isn’t expected to attend the trial that could last until Christmas. But at least some of the women who accused him of paying them for sex when they were as young as 14 are expected to testify.

“This case cannot be tried without addressing those claims,” said attorney Jack Scarola, who is representing Fort Lauderdale lawyer Bradley Edwards.

Epstein paid three women $5.5 million to end underage-sex lawsuits: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/epstein-paid-three-women-million-end-underage-sex-lawsuits/8GEJk4YYa2X4ffig4HAqyJ/

Scarola declined to say who else he might call to the witness stand.

In court papers, he indicated he might call Epstein’s Palm Beach neighbor, President Donald Trump. [5]. Other high-profile people who climbed aboard Epstein’s private jet, including former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and Dershowitz, are also on Scarola’s witness list. However, Scarola long ago acknowledged Trump had little information to offer and there is nothing in court records to indicate any celebrities will testify.

Feds explain sweet deal for billionaire sex offender Epstein: https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/breaking-feds-explain-sweet-deal-for-billionaire-sex-offender-epstein/nN5WTmFcZRaRXzHZSYWtLP/

Recognizing that emotions are running high and that many of the accusations are X-rated, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Donald Hafele has tried to rein in lawyers on both sides.

He ordered Edwards and Scarola to treat the absent Epstein with respect. He prohibited them from referring to Epstein as “a billionaire pedophile″ or “a convicted child molester.”

“The parties are further ordered to refrain from making any pejorative comments at trial,” Hafele wrote.

Fight to reopen teen sex case against Jeff Epstein may set precedent: https://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/crime–law/fight-reopen-teen-sex-case-against-jeff-epstein-may-set-precedent/hxt8lQgkABEc59vrbz8teK/

However, the kid-glove treatment doesn’t extend to Epstein’s criminal record.

The jury will be told that the wildly successful money manager in 2008 pleaded guilty in Palm Beach County Circuit Court to two charges — procuring a minor for prostitution and solicitation of prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a vacant wing of the county stockade — a cell he was allowed to leave 16 hours a day, six days a week.

Jurors will also be told that Epstein paid a total of $5.5 million to settle lawsuits three of Edwards’ young clients filed against him. While Epstein reached confidential settlements with nearly three dozen other women, the amounts of those settlements won’t be revealed, Hafele ruled.

The trial that will begin unfolding on Tuesday with jury selection has a circuitous history. It began as a collision between two of the players in the biggest scandals to rock South Florida in the last decade when Epstein, in 2009, sued Ponzi schemer Scott Rothstein.

In that suit, Epstein claimed he was victimized by Rothstein and Edwards, who worked for Rothstein’s Fort Lauderdale law firm. Rothstein admitted he bilked investors out of $1.2 billion by trumping up phony settlements in civil cases. Epstein claimed Rothstein and Edwards conspired to “gin up” settlements in the lawsuits Edwards filed against him as part of that scheme.

After Rothstein was handed a 50-year prison sentence, Epstein dropped his claims against Edwards. But, Edwards turned the tables on Epstein by filing a malicious prosecution lawsuit against Epstein.

In it, Edwards claims Epstein filed the original suit simply to punish him for representing the young women. Epstein claims he had good reason to believe Edwards was using the cases to perpetuate Rothstein’s massive Ponzi scheme.

That is the convoluted case the jury will decide.

Until Friday, Epstein’s legal team was planning to use Edwards’ words against him.

Attorneys Scott Link and Kara Rockenbach unearthed 27,542 pages of emails Edwards sent while he worked at Rothstein’s firm. The emails, they claimed, “eviscerated” Edwards’ contention that Epstein had no reason to suspect Edwards and Rothstein were touting phony settlements in the cases they filed against him. The emails show Rothstein was heavily involved in those cases.

The discovery of the emails forced Hafele to cancel the trial in March. But after spending months pushing Hafele to let them use the emails they received from Epstein’s former lawyers, Link and Rockenbach abruptly withdrew the request. Neither could be reached for comment about why they decided not to use the emails that they claimed would sink Edwards’ case.

Like many things involving Epstein, the emails spurred additional litigation.

Saying Epstein’s former attorneys at the Fowler White Burnett law firm had “stolen” the emails, Scarola asked that the firm be held in contempt of court. A federal judge on Nov. 21 ruled that the firm and West Palm Beach attorney Joseph Ackerman had made an “inadvertent and innocent mistake” by hanging onto the emails instead of destroying them as ordered. The judge declined to hold Ackerman or the firm in contempt.

The web of Epstein litigation has ensnared other attorneys as well.

Dershowitz, who represented Epstein, sued Edwards and another attorney for defamation after they filed court papers alleging he and Prince Andrew had sex with one of Epstein’s underage victims. Edwards and attorney Paul Cassell fired back with a defamation suit against Dershowitz. The suits were eventually settled for undisclosed terms.

Meanwhile, Acosta continues to take heat for agreeing to drop the federal investigation into Epstein’s alleged exploitation of teenage girls when he was the top federal prosecutor in South Floridda. Last year, during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings to become U.S. Labor secretary, he was grilled about why he allowed Epstein to get what many describe as a sweetheart deal.

Acosta said he didn’t expect Epstein to get such a lenient sentence. He said it was “awful” that Epstein was allowed to leave the jail to work during his 13-month sentence. But he insisted that without the involvement of his office, Epstein would have received far less punishment and he wouldn’t have paid his victims to settle the civil lawsuits they filed against him.

Edwards is now suing Acosta’s former office, claiming prosecutors violated the federal Crime Victims’ Rights Act by not alerting the young women about the plea deal before it was approved.

How much money is at stake in the trial that begins this week is unknown.

Edwards claims Epstein’s lawsuit damaged his reputation and livelihood. But, Link and Rockenbach counter, Edwards’ law practice has flourished since he began attacking Epstein in court. Last year, Edwards was part of a legal team that won $5.7 million for members of Trump National Golf Club Jupiter who claimed Trump improperly changed the rules after he bought the ailing club in 2012.

Like all trials, there are many unknowns.

For his part, Scarola wondered how Epstein’s absence would impact the jury. “I can’t wait to see what the jury thinks about giving up three weeks of their lives and the defendant doesn’t even show up,” he said.
[1] https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/much-anticipated-jeffrey-epstein-civil-case-trial-set-for-dec/AQHLBwDP1JUI6FfsFhuIQL/
[2] https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/breaking-feds-explain-sweet-deal-for-billionaire-sex-offender-epstein/nN5WTmFcZRaRXzHZSYWtLP/
[3] https://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/crime–law/epstein-paid-three-women-million-end-underage-sex-lawsuits/8GEJk4YYa2X4ffig4HAqyJ/
[4] https://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/crime–law/fight-reopen-teen-sex-case-against-jeff-epstein-may-set-precedent/hxt8lQgkABEc59vrbz8teK/
[5] https://facebook.com/trumpinpalmbeach/
© Copyright 2006-2018 GateHouse Media, LLC., GateHouse News, available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, Palm Beach Daily News ~ 400 Royal Palm Way, Suite 100, Palm Beach, FL 33480”