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Acosta defends plea deal for Epstein

Prosecutors in New York announce charges against Epstein. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has defended the plea deal he approved in 2008 for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida at the time.

Why it matters: With the wealthy financier once again facing charges, this time in New York, Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demanding Acosta resign over the lenient deal reached 11 years ago. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Acosta said the prosecutors at the time "insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator."

  • While Epstein was jailed, he pleaded guilty to state charges to soliciting prostitution, not to sexually abusing minors. He was free during the day under a "work release" deal and freed entirely after 13 months.
  • Acosta said in the tweets that he is "pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence."