Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Resigns Amid Criticism Over Role In 2008 Epstein Plea Deal
Alex Acosta, who served as President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary, is resigning from his position, the president announced on Friday.
Acosta’s decision to step down comes as furor developed in recent days over his role in helping accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein secure a plea deal in 2008, ABC News reported.
Epstein was arrested earlier this month on charges of sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida, The Daily Beast reported.
Acosta was instrumental in a plea arrangement in 2008, on separate charges of sexual exploitation of minors that Epstein faced at that time.
The former Labor Secretary, who served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida at that time, said he arranged for Epstein to plea guilty to a single count of soliciting a minor for sex in order to ensure he’d serve guaranteed time in prison, and to help the victims of his crimes, the New York Times reported earlier this week.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is resigning from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet amid scrutiny of his handling of a secret 2008 plea deal with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who’s been accused of sexually abusing underage girls.https://t.co/rYY75pbwoE
— The Associated Press (@AP) July 12, 2019
“I wanted to help them,” Acosta said. “That is why we intervened. And that’s what the prosecutors of my office did — they insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator.”
Acosta did not inform Epstein’s victims about the plea deal when he issued it out, NPR reported.
Epstein went on to serve 13 months in a county jail, being released from a longer sentence early and serving 1 year on probation when he was let out. He enjoyed a lavish lifestyle upon his release.
Even while serving time in jail, Epstein was allowed to leave daily to work, NBC News reported.
Many said that Acosta’s plea arrangement was too lenient, and pressure for him to resign had been made many months ago, according to reporting from the Miami Herald. Epstein’s recent charges renewed those calls for Acosta’s resignation, which were much more intense than they had been previously.