U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is resigning his post in the wake of mounting pressure from the Jeffrey Epstein case, which he handled as a U.S. Attorney in Florida.
President Donald Trump announced today that Acosta is stepping down as labor secretary. Trump said that Acosta called him Friday morning, saying that the decision was Acosta’s. As of this time, Trump has not posted to social media about Acosta’s resignation.
The resignation comes on the heels of the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein, a financer and sex offender who has been charged with sex trafficking girls as young as 14. Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty in federal court on July 18.
In 2005, Epstein was accused of similar charges – sex trafficking and paying minors for sex. Epstein was offered a deal in 2008 that allowed him to register as a sex offender and serve a 13 month sentence, but he avoided federal prosecution and reportedly closed an FBI investigation into his activities.
As the U.S. Attorney for southern Florida, Acosta was responsible for striking the deal with Epstein. In a July 10 press conference, Acosta defended the plea deal, saying that Epstein likely would have walked free without that deal.
“Simply put, the Palm Beach Attorney’s Office was ready to let Epstein walk free – no jail time, nothing,” Acosta said. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable, and they became involved. Our office became involved.”
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.
— Secretary Acosta (@SecretaryAcosta) July 9, 2019
Acosta said that the prosecutors delivered an ultimatum to Epstein – to plead guilty to the sex trafficking charges and register as a sex offender or the office would attempt to indict him in federal court.
“Without the work of our prosecutors, Epstein would have gotten away with just that state charge,” Acosta says.
Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown broke the news of Acosta’s plea deal with Epstein.
Acosta’s resignation letter, addressed to President Trump, was published on his Twitter account. He notes that his resignation will be effective one week from today (Friday).
“It has meant so much to me that you have offered your steadfast support in our private discussions and in your public remarks. That support notwithstanding, I agreed to serve so that I could implement your agenda. Your agenda, putting American people first, must avoid any distractions. A Cabinet position is a temporary trust. I must set aside a part of me that wants to continue my service with the thousands of talent professionals at the Department of Labor,” Acosta wrote.
Read the full letter here.