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Sen. Ben Sasse on Tuesday urged Attorney General William Barr to direct the Department of Justice to "rip up" a 2008 non-prosecution agreement with Jeffrey Epstein and pursue any persons who participated in "Epstein's international sex-trafficking ring."

Epstein was found dead in his cell at a federal detention facility in New York over the weekend, the victim of an apparent suicide.

Sasse, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's oversight subcommittee, told the attorney general that the 2008 agreement that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges in Florida and avoid federal charges should not be allowed to prevent others from being brought to justice now.

"Too many of Epstein's secrets have gone to the grave with him and the department must not allow his death to be one last sweetheart deal for his co-conspirators," Sasse said. 

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That deal "essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein's sex crimes," he said.

"The idea that wealth and connections can buy injustice — the only plausible explanation for such pathetically soft terms for a serial child rapist at the heart of a massive international criminal enterprise — is wholly and completely inconsistent with the basic notions of fairness and equality that undergird the rule of law enshrined in our Constitution," Sasse wrote Barr.

"This crooked deal cannot stand," he wrote. 

Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or dwalton@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSDon.

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