U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is facing increasing pressure to resign for his involvement in a 2008 plea deal, as federal prosecutors pursue new sex-trafficking charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein in the state of New York.
Acosta came under scrutiny after the wealthy financier was arrested Saturday and faces new sex trafficking charges of minors, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Acosta was the federal prosecutor in Miami, Florida, at the time when Epstein faced federal charges of molesting teenage girls. The top federal prosecutor was involved in the lenient 2008 plea that allowed Epstein to evade prosecution on federal charges of molesting teenage girls.
Acosta is now pressed with calls to resign for securing such a lenient deal and for the way he handled the prosecution of the multimillionaire more than a decade ago.
The 66-year-old Epstein—a financier and former school teacher—with properties in New Mexico, New York, Paris, Palm Beach, and also owns a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, is facing similar sex charges in New York this week.
Acosta’s link to Epstein over the 2008 plea deal came under question as federal prosecutors in New York filed similar charges on Monday against Epstein.
On Tuesday, during the Oval Office talks with the Emir of Qatar, President Donald J. Trump praised Acosta’s achievement and said that he would look at the matter “very carefully.”
“I can tell you that for two and a half years he’s been just an excellent Secretary of Labor. He’s done a fantastic job,” said President Trump.
He told White House reporters that he “can only say this from what I know and what I do know is that he’s been a great, really great Secretary of Labor.”
“The rest of it we’ll have to look, we’ll have to look at it very carefully,” said President Trump.
As pressure mounts to demand Acosta’s resignation, President Trump stands by his Cabinet official.