In the Jeffrey Epstain case in which a pyramid scheme of international sex trafficking and abuse came to light, the FBI filed a fifty three page indictment in June 2007.

However, the then Attorney-General of South California. Alexander Acosta agreed to a 'plea-deal' which more or less granted immunity to Epstein and four other named Co-conspirators and incredibly, any unnamed potential Co-conspirators. This agreement shut down the FBI probe completely.

However, a federal judge later found that the victims rights had been 'violated' in this agreement, and called the deal a 'conspiracy' and ordered the case to go ahead.

The Trump administration later selected Alexander Acosta to stand as Labour Secretary. When the the evidence for the secret back room deal, or rather 'conspiracy' came to light, the ensuing outrage forced his resignation from his post.

Given that it appears that he was defending the rights of people involved in a pyramid scheme of sexual abuse of young and vulnerable women, why hasn't Acosta been charged with obstructing justice and/or conspiracy?

1 Answer 1


A prosecutor's discretion is almost unassailable. The main reason for this is to prevent prosecutors from having to defend in a legal forum every single decision made.

In a civil matter, prosecutors have absolute immunity form being personally sued for their actions (again, to prevent a prosecutor from being sued from every single defendant).


Misconduct by prosecutors may be resolved by reversal or retrials of court proceedings. But this is not something that really has criminal penalties.


Occasionally, a prosecutor may be subject to discipline from the state's Bar. This is rare, and is not much of a deterrent.


Theoretically, a prosecutor who out and out breaks the law can be prosecuted. Examples seem to be rare, and are more about government malfeasance (expense reports, misuse of government equipment, etc.). Due to the above standards, proving criminal conduct around prosecutorial discretion will be extremely difficult, as will finding a fellow prosecutor willing to even go down that road. It is in no prosecutor's interest to set the precedent of prosecutors being jailed for their behavior.

So, why has nothing happened? Because in general, prosecutors can get away with almost anything.

And I will add, Because America seems to like it this way.

  • Really, then why does the US constitution refer to high crimes? All offices of the state require accountability, this is one of the meanings of democracy. To say that the position of a high official is unassailable is to misconstrue what democracy is about. Jun 3, 2020 at 18:54
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    @MoziburUllah, the accountability comes from being able to throw the elected official out of office: either through impeachment, or through a recall election, or through not re-electing the official. Criminal prosecution only applies to things that aren't part of the powers of the office: taking bribes is a crime, while making unpopular decisions isn't.
    – Mark
    Jun 4, 2020 at 2:07
  • @Mark: given the gravity of the crimes that the FBI charged with Jeffrey Epstein and his Co-conspirators with calling the decision by Acosta 'unpopular' hardly fits the bill. The Federal judge called it a 'conspiracy'. Jun 4, 2020 at 4:07
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    @MoziburUllah you ca be mad about it, but that is the system out in place and allowed by the US electorate.
    – Tiger Guy
    Jun 4, 2020 at 6:02
  • @Tiger guy: I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only guy that's angry about this... Jun 4, 2020 at 11:35

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