Republican Sen. Ben Sasse had strong words for wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein while appearing on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Monday, calling his initial sentence absurd and saying the government exists to “protect the powerless.”
“This guy victimized dozens, probably scores, of little girls, and the sentence he got was pathetic. And, every mom and dad in America, frankly not just moms and dads but anybody with a heart, should be heartbroken by what happened here to those girls, to those victims, but also with the absurdity of a sentence that short,” the Nebraska senator said.
An indictment alleging sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy was unsealed Monday against Epstein, the wealthy and politically connected financier who pleaded not guilty during his initial appearance in a New York City federal court. Prosecutors alleged that Epstein, 66, who was arrested on Saturday, preyed on “dozens” of victims as young as 14.
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Epstein struck a “sweetheart” deal in 2008 with then-U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Alexander Acosta, in which the suspect pleaded guilty to state charges and served 13 months in jail, avoiding federal charges in an earlier investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls. He was allowed to leave for work during the day.
Acosta, now President Trump’s labor secretary, did not immediately comment.
Sasse told MacCallum he reached out to the Justice Department this past December and January saying “they have to reopen this investigation.”
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“This is what government exists to do, is to protect the powerless and the voiceless. So many things in Washington, D.C., that government does, it has no business doing, but this is what government is for. It’s to defend weak victims like all these girls,” Sasse explained when asked why he got involved.
Sasse also expressed that this case should be treated apolitically and addressed human trafficking.
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“Human trafficking is a scourge and we need to be pursuing this… This isn’t a time for people to say, ‘oh, is a Republican or Democrat going to be implicated?’ Every American should stand on the side of those little girls.”
Fox News’ Martha MacCallum, Gregg Re and The Associated Press contributed to this report.