A Florida appeals court has ruled that the underage victims of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein are entitled to the communications between his lawyers and federal prosecutors as the victims seek to overturn the billionaire's plea deal. in what is being called a “sweetheart plea deal” for the billionaire, according to the Palm Beach Daily News
Epstein received an 18-month sentence after pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution and soliciting prostitution as part of a state plea agreement in which he was let out of the Palm Beach County Stockade for up to 16 hours a day, six days a week, as part of a work release program.
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The victims’ attorneys had argued that the secret deal saved Epstein from facing much more serious federal charges and serving more prison time — possibly 10 years to life — related to sexual crimes against two females, ages 12 and 13, in 2007.
More than two dozen lawsuits or claims were filed against Epstein, who was accused of luring underaged girls to his mansion for sex acts.
The three-judge panel determined the correspondence between Epstein’s lawyers and federal prosecutors wasn’t protected by the attorney-client privilege and said the privilege was waived when Epstein’s legal team sent the communication about a plea deal during negotiations.
“Disclosure of work-product materials to an adversary waives the work-product privilege,” the panel ruled, the Daily News reported.
The 500 pages of correspondence could be released this week.
The ruling on Friday upheld a lower court’s decision in June 2013 where a district judge said Epstein’s victims were entitled to the communications about the plea deal.
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