A judge presiding over a key lawsuit related to pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died suddenly, according to Politico. The death has added yet another twist to the drawn-out legal efforts to unseal the details of Epstein’s conduct–which largely remain under seal.
Manhattan-based U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet died on Sunday at the age of 96. He was appointed earlier in his career by former President Jimmy Carter. He worked right up until the time of his death.
Politico reported, “Sweet was assigned to a lawsuit that emerged from the aftermath of Epstein’s controversial plea deal a decade ago, in which he escaped federal charges by pleading guilty to two prostitution-related offenses in state court. Epstein ended up spending 13 months in jail, with daily furloughs that allowed him to work in his office. … The sex trafficking lawsuit that Sweet oversaw pitted one of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, against a longtime friend of Epstein and heir to a newspaper fortune, Ghislaine Maxwell.”
Objective reporting for the educated American.
Critics have been harsh on the plea deal, as well as the role of Alexander Acosta–the top prosecutor in Florida who arranged the deal. The general consensus is that the sentence, which involved just a year in jail with 12 hours per day at his private residence, was far too lenient given Epstein’s apparent crimes.
Giuffre and other victims willingly took large financial settlements in exchange for waiving their right to sue Epstein. However, those waivers didn’t prevent the victims from suing other people involved–like Epstein’s so-called “pimp,” Maxwell. Maxwell allegedly facilitated Epstein’s efforts to have sexual relations with teenagers.
Currently, documents surrounding the case remain sealed. Former Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz is seeking to have the documents unsealed; he claims they contain information that will prove his innocence, as he is being accused of having sex with underage girls at the direction of Maxwell. Judge Sweet turned down the motions, prompting a series of appeals, which were ongoing. Several other judges involved, however, believed at least some records should be unsealed.
Now that Sweet has passed away, it could be more likely that the documents will be made public.
Epstein, who was facing charges of trafficking underage girls prior to his death over the weekend, had a plethora of powerful friends in politics, banking, entertainment, and journalism. He was friendly with many of the nation’s most rich and famous–including former President Clinton who took numerous rides on Epstein’s private jet.