Was Trump’s Special Master a Judge in Jeffrey Epstein Case?

Veteran federal judge Raymond Dearie has been named special master in a case involving former President Donald Trump’s handling of White House documents at his Mar-a-Lago residence.

The 78-year-old, who is a senior United States district judge for the Eastern District of New York, has been described as “scrupulously fair” following his appointment by Judge Aileen Cannon.

Dearie will review documents seized in an FBI search of Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida on August 8. He was one of the candidates suggested by the former president’s legal team and the Department of Justice (DOJ) did not object.

A legal case from almost 30 years ago has re-emerged since Dearie’s appointment, which some critics of the former president claim raises concerns about his position.

Charges Are Announced Against Jeffrey Epstein
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. A man with the same name was charged with mail theft in 1993.
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

The Claim

Several Twitter users shared a 1993 court case in the Eastern District of New York against an individual named Jeffrey Epstein. The information is available at the website Court Listener and shows Dearie presided over the case.

Some social media users suggested that the Epstein in this case is the same as the late convicted sex offender of the same name. Three charges against the man were dismissed, while on one count he was placed on probation.

“Judge Dearie dismissed all charges against Jeffrey Epstein in 1993 and recommended counseling?!? How can this be a good thing for the DOJ in accepting him as special master?!” wrote Twitter user Carol Amato.

The Facts

In 1993, charges were brought against one Jeffrey Epstein, as well a woman named Patricia Epstein. Jeffrey Epstein was charged on four counts involving theft of mail.

Epstein was assigned a public defender, attorney Allen Lashley, who passed away in 2014 and was known for his pro bono work. Raymond R. Granger, now of Granger & Associates, LLC, represented the government.

Granger told Newsweek in an email on Friday that he remembered the case and the defendant was not the disgraced Jeffrey Epstein. Granger was Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York at the time and also praised Judge Dearie, calling him “a truly great judge.”

The first count said that Epstein “did knowingly and intentionally conspire to commit an offense against the US by conspiring to steal and abstract from out of residential mail boxes letters containing US Treasury checks.”

That was the only count on which Epstein was convicted. The other three were dismissed. Epstein was placed on probation for five years and given a two level reduction “for acceptance of responsibility upon agreement of the parties and consistent with the evidence.”

He also had to pay “a special assessment of $50.00”

Circumstantial details also undermine the purported connection between the famous Epstein and this case.

The famous Jeffrey Epstein was well-known as a wealthy financier at the time, and therefore it is unlikely he would have sought or been granted a public defender. The charges against the man in the 1993 case are also inconsistent with the widely reported legal cases against Epstein.

The late Jeffrey Epstein had worked for Towers Financial Corporation, a debt collection company and was reportedly paid $25,000 per month beginning in 1987. He left in 1989. The company collapsed in 1993 when it was revealed to be running a Ponzi scheme. Steven Hoffenberg, who hired Epstein, claimed Epstein was closely involved in the scheme, but he was never charged.

Information about Patricia Epstein is extremely limited, but public reporting suggests she is not related to the disgraced financier, who did not appear to have any close relatives or former partners of that name.

Nothing in the extensive public reporting about the disgraced sex offender suggests he was the Epstein convicted of mail theft in 1993.

The Ruling

Misleading Material

Misleading Material.

There is no evidence, other than their shared name, to suggest that the defendant in 1993 mail theft case was the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

The prosecuting attorney on the case has confirmed to Newsweek that the defendant was a different man with the name Jeffrey Epstein.

The famous Epstein’s life and legal cases are extremely well documented and a conviction like this one would have emerged long before now.

FACT CHECK BY NEWSWEEK

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