Wednesday, 17 July, 2019

New Accusations Against Jeffrey Epstein, Alex Acosta Resigns

While President Trump is due in Hunting Valley for a private campaign fundraiser Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is laboring to keep his job and explain the 2008 sweetheart deal he gave politically connected Jeffrey Epstein when facing sex trafficking Trump due in Cleveland, Acosta in trouble: Darcy cartoon
Patty Aguilar | 14 July, 2019, 06:27

Alex Acosta said Friday he is stepping down as labor secretary so his handling of a 2008 prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein won't distract from the us economy's "amazing" performance.

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.

"I do not think it is right and fair to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today", the outgoing labour secretary said.

Democratic U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who has called on Acosta to testify on the Epstein matter, said in a statement: "Secretary Acosta's role in approving the extremely favourable deal for Jeffrey Epstein raises significant concerns about his failure to respect the rights of the victims, many of whom were children when they were assaulted". "And not just let it go, we'll help him, '" Verheyden-Hilliard told Sputnik.

Acosta responded to the criticism on Tuesday with tweets saying Epstein's crimes were "horrific" and that he was glad prosecutors were moving forward based on new evidence and testimony that could "more fully bring him to justice". He said he did not ask Acosta to leave the cabinet.

"It would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that is 12 years old".

Given that background, UltraViolet's Thomas said, "Congress should open a full investigation into President Trump, who was directly implicated as an enabler of Epstein, and is self-confessed serial sexual predator with almost two dozen accusations against him".

Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where he had returned on his private plane from Paris.

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Epstein's non-prosecution agreement allowed him to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution instead of facing federal charges.

Both Trump and former president Bill Clinton were acquainted with Epstein, but have taken pains after the Herald reporting to distance themselves from the hedge fund manager.

On Monday, U.S. prosecutors in NY accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, in an indictment that detailed how he lured dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coerced them into performing sex acts.

Mr Trump told reporters that he and Mr Acosta spoke on the phone earlier on Friday and that it was Mr Acosta's decision to step down.

Patrick Pizzella, the current labour deputy secretary, will become acting secretary when Mr Acosta officially steps down in one week, Mr Trump said.

Trump, who has previously described Epstein as a "terrific guy" who "likes lovely women", also attempted to distance himself from the financier, saying he was "not a fan" and that the two had a "falling out" years ago. 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. Although the victim dropped the suit against Trump after repeatedly receiving death threats, federal investigators will very likely follow up on her allegations in pursuit of the case against Epstein.

He said that the labor secretary press conference Wednesday "did not play to good reviews", seeing as Acosta did not show a lot of heart or empathy, and refused to apologize to the victims. The Justice Department has been investigating.

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