Epstein Child Victim Calls on Supreme Court to Lift Lid on 2008 'Sweetheart Deal'
Federal officials reached agreement with Epstein on highly favorable terms
One of the first child victims to speak out against Jeffrey Epstein has called on the Supreme Court to review the details behind the "sweetheart deal" that the convicted pedophile agreed with federal prosecutors in 2008.
Courtney Wild claims that Epstein sexually abused her and trafficked her to other men to be raped when she was just 14 years old.
She is asking the Supreme Court to rule that federal prosecutors in Miami violated her civil rights when they offered Epstein the cushy deal for child sex crimes without consulting her.
Wild, now a 33-year-old mother of two, was among the first of Epstein's victims to come forward with allegations and has been among the most dogged in her pursuit of justice.
In retelling her story, she says she was "pretty much homeless" when she was recruited by Epstein's team in Palm Beach, Florida.
In 2008, Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in Palm Beach County Jail, but he was able to have his own wing, pay his own guards, and leave the jail during the day to go to his office - only returning to sleep there.
The deal was agreed without consulting his accusers, and Wild that year sued the U.S. Justice Department, demanding information from federal prosecutors about their investigation of Epstein.
For the next 13 years, Wild continued to fight through the courts.
Her legal action forced the government to admit that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami had already reached a confidential deal with Epstein several months earlier, without informing the alleged victims.
"Without our case, probably no one would have seen the non-prosecution agreement, the secret agreement," said her lawyer, Brad Edwards.
"Without that action, nobody would have known just how bad [Epstein] and his other co-conspirators were.
"No one would have ever understood the whole story."
In April the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Wild's case never should have been allowed to proceed.
The majority of judges concluded that the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), enacted by Congress in 2004, did not permit her to sue the Justice Department over Epstein's controversial agreement, in the absence of an existing criminal prosecution.
"It's not the result we like, but it's the result we think the law requires," wrote Judge Kevin Newsom in the majority opinion.
"Despite our sympathy for Ms. Wild and others like her, who suffered unspeakable horror at Epstein's hands, only to be left in the dark — and, so it seems, affirmatively misled — by government lawyers, we find ourselves constrained to deny her petition."
Wild's attorneys are now petitioning the Supreme Court, arguing that unless the justices step in, the government will be free to sideline victims as it reaches similar non-prosecution agreements with targets of sensitive investigations.
"Given that the underlying legal issue involves a practice that the government intends to keep secret, this Court may well face a now-or-never opportunity consider the question presented," Wild's attorneys wrote.
"It was only due to unusual circumstances that Jeffrey Epstein's NPA was revealed to the victims — and the public.
"In future cases, there is no guarantee that the government will disclose its clandestine NPAs, much less disclose them in a way that would permit the kind of district and appellate court challenges that occurred here."