Plea deal, involving attorney who became Trump’s labor secretary, saw financier avoid severe penalty for abusing girls

The justice department has opened an investigation into federal prosecutors’ handling of a plea deal in which a wealthy, politically connected Florida financier avoided potentially severe penalties for sexually abusing teenage girls in favor of a relatively light state conviction.

The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility wrote in a letter Wednesday to the Republican senator Ben Sasse, of Nebraska, that it would examine whether professional misconduct occurred in the highly publicized case of Jeffrey Epstein. The letter cited a series of recent articles by the Miami Herald that focused new attention on how the deal came about.

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Read More Jeffrey Epstein: US opens inquiry into light sentence for wealthy sexual abuser

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