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The top Senate Democrat is calling on Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to resign, for his role more than a decade ago in a “non-prosecution” agreement for wealthy socialite Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein, 66, was arrested this week for soliciting sex from underage women and girls. He is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking and sex trafficking. He faces potentially up to 45 years in prison.
However, Epstein was charged with similar crimes before, back in 2008. At that time, the federal prosecutor, for reasons unknown, let Epstein off with minimal jail time. And, in violation of law, that prosecutor failed to notify Epstein’s victim’s of the deal.
The prosecutor in that case was Alex Acosta, who today serves as labor secretary in the Trump administration.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) went to the Senate floor to call for Acosta to step down, for his role in giving this sex offender such a sweetheart deal.
“The newly released evidence of Epstein’s behavior involving dozens of children is sickening, is appalling, is despicable. Epstein should have been behind bars years ago, but unfortunately Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta cut Epstein a sweetheart deal while Acosta was a U.S. Attorney in Florida in 2008,” Schumer said. “While a federal prosecutor, Acosta signed a non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein and his co-conspirators to remain free and evade justice despite overwhelming evidence. Mr. Acosta hid this agreement from Epstein’s victims. No one can figure out why Mr. Epstein was able to persuade U.S. Attorney Acosta not to prosecute other than that Epstein could afford high-powered, high-priced attorneys. As The Miami Herald editorial board wrote this morning, it was not just that Acosta failed to get it right in 2008. The evidence suggests he didn’t care to.
“Accordingly, I’m asking three things: First, I am calling on Secretary Acosta to resign. It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta’s ability to lead the Department of Labor,” Schumer added. “If he refuses to resign, President Trump should fire him. Instead of prosecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy. This is not acceptable. We cannot have, as one of the leading appointed officials in America, someone who has done this, plain and simple. Second, I am calling on the Department of Justice’s Office of Professional Responsibility to make public the results of its review of Acosta’s handling of the Epstein case. Sens. [Patty] Murray [D-Wash.] and [Tim] Kaine [D-Va.] have called for these findings, but the Justice Department so far has stonewalled, has refused to make them public. This review cannot be kept in the dark, particularly given the new revelations, and there should be hearings. And third, the president needs to answer for his statements he has made about his relationship with Mr. Epstein. In 2002, he said he’d known Epstein for 15 years and he was ‘a terrific guy’ who enjoyed women ‘on the younger side.’ Epstein was also reportedly a regular at the Mar-a-Lago club for years. The president needs to answer for this, and ‘I don’t recall’ is not an acceptable answer in this case, particularly since President Trump appointed Mr. Acosta to such a powerful position.”
There is no indication that Trump will fire Acosta, as Trump said that Acosta is doing a “fantastic job” as labor secretary.