1 Justice Department, 2 views on sex charges against Epstein

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — There is only one Justice Department, but two of its largest U.S. attorneys’ offices came to vastly different conclusions about what to do with financier Jeffrey Epstein over allegations he sexually molested dozens of underage girls.

The Miami U.S. attorney’s office approved an extraordinary agreement a decade ago in which Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges rather than face much tougher federal prosecution.

But Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman announced the indictment Monday of Epstein on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges stemming from at least some of the same conduct covered by that agreement.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Defense attorneys say it’s highly unusual for one federal prosecutor to pass on an indictment only to have another located elsewhere to determine otherwise.

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