President Donald Trump has confirmed that Labour Secretary Alex Acosta who is facing new scrutiny for his handling of a federal sex abuse investigation against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, will be leaving the cabinet.
President Trump confirmed the statement on Friday morning, telling reporters that Acosta will be stepping down and the move is solely the decision of the Labour Secretary.
Alex Acosta had himself on Friday said:
“I do not think it is right and fair to this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today,”
“And so I called the President this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside.” he said.
Trump publicly praised Acosta and said he would have been willing to have him remain, saying:
“Thought he did a fantastic job. He explained it. He made a deal people were happy with … now they’re not,” “In so many ways I hate what he’s saying now cause we’re gonna miss him.” Trump said from the lawn.
CNN reported that Alex Acosta has been under renewed scrutiny over his previous role as the US attorney in Miami, during which he negotiated the 2008 plea deal with Epstein. Epstein, a well-connected multi-millionaire, avoided a federal trial at the time and served only 13 months in prison for state prostitution charges over his involvement with underage girls. A Miami Herald investigation published last November described the plea deal, negotiated by Acosta, as the “deal of a lifetime.”
The report also stated that Federal prosecutors in New York unsealed a new criminal indictment Monday charging Epstein with having operated a sex trafficking ring in which he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, part of the allegations that have circulated around the politically connected businessman for years. A “vast trove” of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls was also confiscated from Epstein’s Manhattan home, prosecutors said in a court filing.
Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges in Manhattan federal court on Monday afternoon.
Alex Acosta, in a tweet on Tuesday, said: “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 new charges sparked calls for Acosta’s resignation among Democrats, including congressional leadership and presidential candidates, from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.