Published: Sun, July 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

US Labor Secretary Acosta resigns

US Labor Secretary Acosta resigns

Epstein was once a friend of Donald Trump before he became president, and ex-president Bill Clinton - both of whom have distanced themselves from the financier recently.

Officials have credited investigative journalism with helping reignite the investigation into Epstein, who resolved the early 2000s sex crimes investigation by pleading guilty to just two state charges and spending about 13 months in jail, with work release privileges. "I do not think it is right and fair to this administration's Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today", he said Friday.

"If Mr. Acosta was truly concerned with the State's case and felt he had to rescue the matter, he would have moved forward with the 53-page indictment that his own office drafted", Krischer said in a statement.

The arrest set in motion a chain of events that led to the resignation Friday of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who was the US attorney in Miami during the earlier investigation of Epstein.

He said that Acosta's troubles were not going away any time soon, and it wasn't like Acosta was the Attorney General or Secretary of State.

On Monday, U.S. prosecutors in NY accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, in an indictment that detailed how he lured dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coerced them into performing sex acts.

Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House of Representatives, and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had called on Tuesday for Acosta to resign.

Instead of ending up in prison for the rest of his life, Epstein struck a non-prosecution agreement, which prevented the Federal Bureau of Investigation from further investigating his sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of emails, court documents and Federal Bureau of Investigation records. The deal came under scrutiny earlier this year after reporting by The Miami Herald.

Acosta had attempted to clear his name and held a news conference - encouraged by Trump - to defend his actions.

Trump had initially defended Acosta but said he'd look "very closely" his handling of the 2008 agreement. In a 50-plus-minute lawyerly rebuttal, he argued his office had secured the best deal it could and had worked in the best interests of Epstein's victims.

"We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail", he said.

Speaking before reporters at the White House Friday, Acosta said it would be "selfish" for him to remain in the administration at this time.

"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world". "Today's world treats victims very, very differently", he said.

Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where he had returned on his private plane from Paris.

"The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific", Acosta tweeted. "Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice".

Acosta has served in Trump's cabinet since April 2017 and from 2005 through 2009 was the USA attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

"I feel power and influence obviously influenced the scales of justice", said Kirk Blouin, town manager of Palm Beach, Fla., who prior to his post served 29 years in the Palm Beach police department.

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