The attorney who has represented more than a dozen women accusing billionaire Jeffrey Epstein of sexual abuse told "CBS This Morning" he believes there are "well in excess of 50" victims. Brad Edwards has been on their side for more than a decade – even before Epstein's widely-criticized 2008 plea deal approved by– and said just in the last 48 hours, he's heard from new victims.
Epstein, who wasin New York City Monday, served just 13 months in jail and had to register as a sex offender from the 2008 charges after being accused of abusing dozens of underage girls. New York City prosecutors say a raid of his home on Tuesday turned up hundreds of lewd photos.
Epstein's former lawyerhelped negotiate the controversial plea deal and in a separate interview with "CBS This Morning" denied it was a bargain for his client. Dershowitz argued prosecutors lacked the evidence to indict the billionaire financier but Edwards refuted that notion.
"He's wrong. He knows he's wrong," Edwards said. "The federal government had a very strong case. They had identified more than 30, about 34, underaged victims. The evidence was overwhelmingly strong."
Democrats are blasting Acosta and calling for his resignation for the secret plea deal he approved for Epstein more than a decade ago, when Acosta was a U.S. attorney in Florida. Edwards wants to know why prosecutors walked away from the 53-page indictment.
"They went from in May of 2007, a 53-page indictment. Literally two months later, there's an exchange of a nonprofit agreement between Epstein's lawyers and the government and our biggest problem is the victims were not told anything about it. They were cooperating with the federal government. They believe there's an investigation going on. And meanwhile behind their backs there's a secret deal happening between the government and Epstein. That's what was wrong," Edwards said.
Acosta's plea deal with Epstein's attorneys was ruled illegal by a Florida judge earlier this year because it was kept secret from the victims. Epstein was tried in state court where he was given a sentence that even allowed him to leave jail and go to work six days a week.
"What the Justice Department approved was that he, Alex Acosta, could prosecute him. That's what they said," Edwards said. "You can prosecute him federally, and then Alex Acosta chose not to prosecute him federally. That's just really what happened."
Epstein associated with a number of high-profile individuals throughout his lifetime including former President Bill Clinton, Great Britain's Prince Andrew and President Trump. Edwards said he doesn't know of any "high-profile person that would be implicated."
"There are plenty of people that ran in his circles that have information. If you have any information if you observed anything, come and let us know," he said. "Tell us what you know at this point."