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Friends of Trump Jeffrey Epstein, Robert Kraft in scandals this week

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Two men with close ties to President Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein and Robert Kraft, are at the center of salacious scandals dominating headlines this week.

A federal judge on Thursday ruled that the Justice Department violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by hiding a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, 66, in 2008 as he faced allegations of sexually abusing over 30 underage girls, CNN reported. This is significant for the Trump administration because the deal was facilitated by then-Miami US Attorney Alexander Acosta, who is now Trump’s Secretary of Labor.

Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, could have faced life in prison. But under the secret agreement with Acosta’s office, he pleaded guilty to less serious charges related to prostitution and only spent 13 months behind bars. He also became a registered sex offender and paid settlements to victims.

Read more: Patriots owner Bob Kraft was just charged with soliciting prostitution. Here’s how he made his $4.3 billion fortune, from working at his father-in-law’s packaging company to buying the NFL team for $172 million

The Department of Justice is accused of violating the law by neglecting to keep Epstein’s victims informed on the negotiations surrounding his plea deal.

The Secretary of Labor has maintained that what transpired was legal and appropriate, but the White House now says it’s “looking into” the matter.

FILE- In this March 22, 2017, file photo, Labor secretary-designate Alex Acosta testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington. Judge Kenneth Marra ruled Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019, that the victims of financier Jeffrey Epstein should have been consulted under federal law. Marra stopped short of invalidating the non-prosecution agreement but asked prosecutors and victims’ lawyers to recommend in 15 days how to move forward. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Associated Press

“We’re looking into the matter, I’m not aware of any changes on that front,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked whether the ruling has affected the president’s views on Acosta.

“My understanding is that’s a very complicated case … but that they made the best possible decision and deal they could have gotten at that time,” Sanders added.

Trump is Epstein’s neighbor in Palm Beach, Florida, and has flown on his plane, according to The Miami Herald. Other prominent figures, including former President Bill Clinton, also have ties to Epstein.

Read more: Patriots owner Robert Kraft charged with 2 counts of soliciting prostitution

Meanwhile, Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots, was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution on Friday.

Kraft, 77, allegedly sought sexual services at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, which reportedly has ties to a human trafficking ring. There’s surveillance footage of Kraft at the facility, according to reports.

A spokesman for Kraft has rejected the allegations in a statement: “We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity. Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further.”

Kraft routinely visits Trump’s Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, and has a close relationship with the president.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Akie Abe attend dinner with President Donald Trump his wife Melania, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots at Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, February 10, 2017
Carlos Barria/Reuters

In 2018, Trump reportedly pushed for hard for Canada to renew a regulation that would require Canadian advertisements to be broadcast during the Super Bowl in Canada, even on US television feeds, and did so at Kraft’s personal request. Trump prioritized this matter in trade negotiations with Canada, according to a Los Angeles Times report, which pleased NFL owners because of the potential profits from Canadian broadcasting rights.

Trump’s efforts in this regard reportedly helped squash tensions with NFL owners over his attacks on national anthem protests.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER regarding the president’s reaction to the charges Kraft faces.

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