Jul 9, 2019

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."

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Trump defends Acosta but says he'll look into Epstein plea deal

President Trump speaks alongside Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump defended Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Tuesday but said he'd look "very carefully" into his handling of a 2008 plea deal with accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Why it matters: The wealthy financier now faces sex trafficking charges in New York. Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demanding Acosta resign over the lenient deal reached in Epstein's earlier case, when he was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida.

Acosta defends handling of 2008 Epstein plea deal

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta said Wednesday "facts are being overlooked" concerning his handling of a sex-trafficking case involving accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, as he defended his handling of the 2008 case.

Why it matters: Now Epstein faces sex trafficking charges involving minors in New York, Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are demanding Acosta resign over the lenient deal reached in the wealthy financier's earlier case, when the labor secretary was serving as U.S. attorney in southern Florida.

Go deeperArrowJul 11, 2019

House panel requests Acosta's testimony on Epstein's 2008 plea deal

Acosta listens to President Trump on May 2, 2018. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings requested Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's testimony on Wednesday regarding his role in registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein's 2008 plea deal.

The latest: Cummings called for Acosta's testimony, scheduled for July 23. Acosta defended his role in Epstein's 2008 plea deal to reporters on Wednesday, saying "he faced a tough choice between accepting a plea deal that was not as tough as he wished it would be and going to trial with witnesses who were scared to testify," per the New York Times.

Go deeperArrowJul 10, 2019