Switch to ADA Accessible Website
Orlando Criminal Lawyer

Federal Court Denies Epstein Victims Lawsuit Against Government


One of the biggest criminal justice stories in recent years involved the now-deceased Florida financier Jeffrey Epstein. According to federal prosecutors, Epstein conspired with a number of people to sexually traffic and abuse over 30 young girls. Epstein allegedly paid his own employees to “deliver” the girls to him, some of whom were barely 15 years old.

Following a two-year investigation, the FBI referred Epstein’s case to the then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta. Acosta, who later served as U.S. Secretary of Labor, negotiated a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) with Epstein in 2007. Under this agreement, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to two state prostitution offenses in Florida and serve 18 months in prison. In exchange, he and several of his alleged co-conspirators received immunity from federal prosecution.

11th Circuit: “National Disgrace” Does Not Justify “Freestanding” Civil Lawsuits

Acosta did not simply agree not to prosecute Epstein. He also agreed to keep the specific terms of the NPA out of the public record. This included not informing Epstein’s victims about the existence or terms of the agreement. Shortly after Epstein entered his guilty pleas, however, some of the victims did learn about the NPA and decided to take their own independent action against the federal government.

Specifically, they filed a civil lawsuit seeking enforcement of their right under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA). The CVRA is a federal statute that, among other provisions, states that a victim has the right to “confer with” the U.S. Attorney with respect to a criminal case and to “be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding” against the defendant. Here, the victims alleged that by effectively keeping them in the dark, Acosta’s office violated the CVRA.

The victims’ case spent more than a decade winding its way through the federal courts. After the initial civil lawsuit failed, the victims filed a petition for a writ of mandamus with the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Last year, a three-judge panel dismissed the petition. But the full Court agreed to reconsider the matter.

On April 15, 2021, a majority of the 11-judge court again dismissed the petition. The majority explained that while this case was a “national disgrace,” the CVRA generally only permits victims to seek administrative remedies “within the context of a preexisting proceeding.” It does not cover situations like this one where federal prosecutors never brought formal charges in the first place. Put another way, the CVRA does not authorize “freestanding” civil lawsuits against prosecutors who fail to charge a defendant with a crime.

Contact Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer Jose Baez Today

If you are charged with a federal crime, it is crucial to understand how victims rights laws may affect your interests. An experienced Orlando criminal attorney can provide you with guidance in this area. Contact the Baez Law Firm today if you need to speak with a lawyer right away.



  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Miami Office

1200 Brickell Avenue, Suite 1410
Miami, FL 33131
Office: 305-999-5100
Fax: 305-999-5111

Orlando Office

250 N Orange Ave, Suite 750
Orlando, FL 32801
Office: 407-705-2626
Fax: 407-705-2625

Email Us

Fields Marked * Are required

DISCLAIMER: Completing and submitting this form or otherwise merely contacting The Baez Law Firm or any individual at the firm will not establish an attorney/client relationship. Our firm cannot represent you until we determine that there would be no conflict of interest and that we are otherwise able to accept representation of your case. Please do not send any information or documents until a formal attorney/client relationship has been established through an interview with an attorney and you have been given authorization in the form of an engagement letter with The Baez Law Firm. Any information or documents sent via this form or otherwise prior to your receipt of an engagement letter will not be treated as confidences, secrets, or protected information of any nature. Submitting information regarding your potential case will not bar The Baez Law Firm from representing or continuing to represent a person or entity whose interest are adverse to your in condition with your case.

protected by reCAPTCHA Privacy - Terms
Please review the highlighted fields. They are required.
DISCLAIMER: This website contains information about The Baez Law Firm that includes testimonial statements from persons who are familiar with the firm's services. The testimonials shown are not necessarily representative of every person's experience with us. Testimonials from every client are not provided. As no two situations or persons are identical, the facts and circumstances of your situation may differ from those for which testimonials are shown. This website also includes information about some of the past results that we have obtained for our clients. Not all results are provided, and the results shown are not necessarily representative of all results obtained by us. No two situation are exactly alike; every person's situation is unique and the outcome for each person depends on the individual facts.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2015 - 2024 Baez Law Firm. All rights reserved.
This law firm website and legal marketing are managed by MileMark Media.

Contact Form Tab Contact Form Tab