US Labor Secretary Acosta resigns over Epstein affair

14 July, 2019, 06:25 | Author: Wade Massey
  • United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta holds a press conference at the Department of Labor. He was discussing his prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein in Florida in 2008. (RESTRICTION NO New York or New Jersey Newspapers or newspapers within a 75

Jeffrey Epstein, the American financier who was charged with federal sex trafficking crimes on Monday, transferred $350,000 to two close associates in late 2018 in what federal prosecutors say was an attempt to "influence witnesses".

According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta called him that morning.

Reporting by the Miami Herald earlier this year and similar charges recently filed against Epstein by federal prosecutors in NY had put Acosta's role in the 2008 deal under renewed scrutiny.

"My point here today is we have an incredible economy, and the focus needs to be on the economy", he said.

"Instead, Mr. Acosta brokered a secret plea deal that resulted in a non-prosecution agreement in violation of the Crime Victims' Rights Act". "I just want to let you know this is him, not me". Federal prosecutors do not take a back seat to state prosecutors.

Acosta, the son of Cuban refugees and the first Hispanic member of Trump's Cabinet, previously served on the National Labour Relations Board and in the U.S. Department of Justice under Republican President George W. Bush.

"He traveled on Epstein's jet at least once", O'Brien continued, adding, "I spent about two years, a lot of time with Trump in the mid-2000s, and he routinely talked about Jeffrey Epstein as someone he admired, he felt they were in sync".

Acosta has served in Trump's Cabinet since April 2017.

"This was him - not me", Trump said of the resignation decision.

Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded not guilty to new federal charges in NY this week.

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Epstein has pleaded not guilty to one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

Pressed on whether he had any regrets, Acosta repeatedly said circumstances had changed since then.

Acosta's time as labor secretary was ticking down after federal prosecutors in NY brought the new charges against Epstein on Monday.

Residents of South Florida expressed relief that President Trump's Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning his post.

Before he was named a US attorney, Acosta was an assistant attorney general for the civil rights division in President George W. Bush's first term. He has always been surrounded by the rich and powerful, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and the UK's Prince Andrew. Acosta had argued that it was the only way to prevent an even lighter sentence, saying he would make the same decision again faced with the same situation.

"What is happening now with this investigation in the Southern District is they're going to get access to Jeffrey Epstein's videos", O'Brien said.

"Mr. Acosta will now have plenty of time and no distractions that prevent him from fully accounting for the sweetheart treatment Epstein received", he said.

Mr Acosta had been under pressure from Democrats to quit.

During his Senate confirmation hearing in March 2017, Acosta defended his record as a US attorney and addressed his decision to not indict Epstein on federal charges. Trump has also made fighting human trafficking a key initiative of his administration. The heads of the Interior, Justice, State and Health departments have also either been fired or resigned, among other top staff during Trump tenure so far.

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