2020 presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris’s harsh condemnation of the 2008 plea deal with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein feels a bit hypocritical, in light of another rather lenient plea deal she arranged while serving as California’s attorney general.
Harris demanded that Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resign for his role in Epstein’s plea deal, but in 2013, Harris oversaw a sweetheart deal with former Democratic San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who initially faced serious sex crimes charges that could have seen him sentenced to prison for upwards of five years or more, the Washington Examiner reported.
Filner was “credibly accused” by multiple women of sexual harassment and misconduct, including unwanted sexual comments, groping and touching. One woman even accused him of attempting to kiss her while putting her in a “Filner headlock.”
Instead, Filner reached an agreement with Harris’ office that had him plead guilty to lesser state charges of false imprisonment and battery against three of the 20 women who had leveled accusations against him.
Filner’s punishment as part of the deal included only three months of house arrest, three years of probation, and the loss of a portion of his mayoral pension.
Since none of the initial sex crime charges were included in the deal, Filner was not even required to register as a sex offender.
Famed women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred said at the time, “Some may feel Filner has paid the price, I think he is one lucky man. Mr. Filner, count your blessing. Your freedom is a gift which you do not deserve.”
The apparent avoidance of any accountability for the sex crime aspect of Filner’s plea deal has been an especially bitter pill for some to swallow in the current #MeToo-era of women speaking out boldly against powerful men who’ve used their positions to abuse, harass, and intimidate women in a sexual manner, a movement Harris says she has strongly embraced.
What about #MeToo?
Maya Raghu, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, told the Examiner, “The cultural change since #MeToo is having an impact of how prosecutors listen to victims now. I think it all comes down to whether we believe women and how seriously we take these allegations. In serious instances, you need serious consequences.”
“Powerful people can afford high-profile legal counsel that others don’t have access to. People [such as Filner] know how to leverage the system in their favor,” Raghu added.
Harris has dismissed the criticism against her and stands by the deal she arranged for Filner.
Odds are, however, that she has not heard the last of this, and if she continues to speak out about Epstein, she will leave herself wide open for further comparisons and critiques.