Secretary of Labor Acosta Resigns Because of Criticism of Jeffrey Epstein Plea Deal
Alexander Acosta announced his resignation as Secretary of Labor after much criticism for the lenient plea deal that was given to Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. Acosta appeared Friday morning on the White House lawn to announce his resignation with President Trump by his side.
“Over the last week I’ve seen a lot of coverage of the Department of >Labor. And what I have not seen is the incredible job creation that >we’ve seen in this economy. more than 5 million jobs, I haven’t seen >that…. I do not think it is right and fair for this >administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus, >rather than the incredible economy that we have today,” Acosta said.
WATCH: Labor Sec. Alex Acosta announces his resignation amid scrutiny over his role in Epstein plea deal.— ABC News (@ABC) July 12, 2019
"I do not think it is right and fair for this administration's Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus, rather than the incredible economy." https://t.co/qd64HSs2qD pic.twitter.com/BIdYlm117G
Epstein only served 13 months of an 18-month sentence and was allowed to go to work daily at his Palm Beach, Florida office. Epstein pled guilty to two counts of solicitation of prostitution, one with a minor, and had to register as a sex offender. The deal gave him immunity from federal prosecution.
On Wednesday, Acosta addressed the public, stating that he felt the Epstein case was handled appropriately since it was a complicated case originating from the state rather than federal authorities. Acosta added that many of the victims were afraid to testify. He also pointed out that if the victims were informed that the deal involved a mechanism for restitution that it might have jeopardized the case by enabling Epstein’s legal defense to portray the victims as money motivated and discredit their testimony. Acosta felt that it was better to get a guilty plea and require Epstein to register as a sex offender than chance going to trial which might have allowed Epstein to walk away a free man.
When the case was presented to Acosta, a state grand jury had recommended one charge be filed against Epstein, with no jail time, no registration as a sex offender, and no restitution to victims. Acosta blamed Barry Krischer, who served as Palm Beach County State Attorney that oversaw the Epstein Case in 2008.
According to a Miami Herald published in 2018, Krischer put pressure on investigators to reduce the charges or drop the case entirely.
Acosta said, “I’ve been on record as condemning the terms of his incarceration. I understand why folks are upset. That was Florida law, that was not a federal decision.”
On Tuesday, Acosta tweeted, “The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence.”
The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence.— Secretary Acosta (@SecretaryAcosta) July 9, 2019
After Epstein’s conviction, he was labeled as a Level 3 offender, which meant that there was a high risk of re-offense. A New York Post report said that Epstein was ordered by a Manhattan judge to check-in with the NYPD every 90 days. But the NYPD didn’t require it since Epstein’s residence was in the U.S. Virgin Islands.