Politics

Trump’s Labor Secretary Under Fire Again For Sweetheart Deal With Jeffrey Epstein

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Amber Athey White House Correspondent

Department of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is facing renewed calls to resign over a sweetheart deal he brokered for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan is now charging Epstein with sex trafficking of minors, according to an indictment unsealed Monday. The indictment alleges that Epstein “enticed and recruited, and caused to be enticed and recruited, minor girls to visit him” and “created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit.”

More than a decade ago, Epstein faced similar accusations that he had sexually abused underage girls. However, he only received a 13-month sentence in a county jail for pleading guilty to solicitation of underage prostitutes. (RELATED: Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Brokered A 2008 Plea Deal With Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein)

The secret plea deal was brokered by Acosta, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the time. A judge ruled in February that Acosta violated the law by not informing Epstein’s alleged victims about the deal.

Acosta claimed during congressional testimony in May that his deal was actually contentious with the Florida deputy attorney general for being “too aggressive.” He also attempted to distance himself from the deal, alleging it was decided by “professionals within a prosecutor’s office.”

Democratic leaders and members of the media are again calling on Acosta to resign now that the new charges have been filed against Epstein.

“@SecretaryAcosta must step down. As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted Tuesday. “This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet #AcostaResign.”

Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine similarly wrote, “Acosta must go. He handed a sweetheart deal to a serial sexual predator.”

The White House has yet to make any public statements on Acosta’s standing in the administration, but current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the White House is nervous Democrats may call hearings with Epstein’s alleged victims to put additional pressure on Acosta.

Two White House officials also told the Post that President Donald Trump doesn’t currently have any plans to force out Acosta.