A once-secret plea deal reached a decade ago with wealthy convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein must stand, despite objections from many of his victims who were teenagers at the time, federal prosecutors said in a new court filing. Prosecutors said a violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act does not allow for the agreement to be voided, the AP reports. Some of the victims claim the deal, known as a non-prosecution agreement or NPA, should be thrown out at least partially because they were not consulted as required under that law. "The past cannot be undone; the government committed itself to the NPA, and the parties have not disputed that Epstein complied with its provisions," prosecutors said. They did acknowledge in the filing that the failure to consult victims "fell short of the government's dedication to serve victims to the best of its ability."
Jack Scarola, an attorney for two victims who challenged the agreement in West Palm Beach federal court, said Tuesday that "the government has failed to comply with its own regulations" in the case. "Congress did not contemplate the extraordinary circumstances of this conspiracy between the government and a serial child molester," Scarola said in an email. The 2008 deal ended a federal investigation that could have landed Epstein, now 66, in prison for life. Instead, he was allowed to plead guilty to lesser state charges that resulted in a 13-month jail sentence and required financial settlements to dozens of his victims. He also had to register as a sex offender. It will be up to US District Judge Kenneth Marra to decide what to do. The victims have a July 8 deadline to respond to the Justice Department's filing. (Trump's labor secretary oversaw the controversial deal.)