Acosta Defends His 2008 Deal With Epstein

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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Labor Secretary Alex Acosta tweeted Tuesday to defend a deal he cut with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein that prevented Epstein from significant jail time.

Acosta has been under fire since Epstein was arrested Saturday and charged with sex trafficking minors. Epstein was previously arrested for two felony prostitution charges, one with a minor, and worked out a light sentence with Acosta in 2008. Acosta was previously serving as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.

Epstein was sentenced to 18 months in county jail, had to register as a sex offender and had to pay restitution to his victims. He only served 13 months of the sentencing on a work-release program that allowed him to continue working at his office in Florida, USA Today reported.

Acosta defended his actions in 2008 on Twitter Tuesday. (RELATED: Clinton Issues Statement On Epstein, Says He ‘Knew Nothing’ Of Sex Trafficking)

“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta tweeted. “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator.”

“Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”

Since Epstein’s arrest, many Democratic leaders have called for Acosta to resign because of the deal he cut with Epstein. Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday that Acosta should resign because of the “sweetheart” deal after saying Monday that Acosta needed to “explain himself,” Politico reported.

“I am calling on Secretary Acosta to resign,” Schumer said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta’s ability to lead the Department of Labor. If he refuses to resign, President Trump should fire him. Instead of persecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tweeted Monday evening that Acosta had an “unconscionable agreement” with Epstein, and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin said during an interview that Acosta’s part in the matter is “serious enough for him to resign,” according to Politico.

“This is an appalling example of what happens when powerful men protect one another and allow cycles of abuse to continue without any consequences,” said Democratic Washington Sen. Patty Murray, who also called for Acosta’s resignation, Politico reported.

Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of sex trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005.

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