Trump's Labour Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein case

Cheryl Sanders
July 14, 2019

U.S. Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned on Friday amid fresh scrutiny of his handling of the sex abuse case against financier Jeffrey Epstein, becoming President Donald Trump's latest adviser to leave the administration in controversy.

It reveals that Epstein mingled extensively with political and cultural elites, including former US President Bill Clinton; the Trump family; UK Princes Andrew and Charles; members of the Kennedy family; former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch; designer Tom Ford; rock stars Mick Jagger and Courtney Love; Hollywood stars Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Elizabeth Hurley and Woody Allen; journalists Barbara Walters, Katie Couric and George Stephanopoulos; and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Sputnik reported.

The prosecutors said they were not bound by the 2008 Florida deal struck by Acosta, then the USA attorney for the Southern District of Florida, that allowed Epstein to plea to a lesser offence.

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".

In the wake of Epstein's arrest, Acosta tweeted Tuesday: "The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with new evidence". Acosta had been asked. "You know, it is so hard I think to avoid the comparison between Epstein and Trump".

Epstein, a billionaire hedge fund manager, pleaded not guilty to new federal charges in NY this week.

Officials have credited investigative journalism with helping reignite the investigation into Epstein, who resolved the early 2000s sex crimes investigation by pleading guilty to just two state charges and spending about 13 months in jail, with work release privileges.

Epstein was arrested on 6 July and has been charged with sex trafficking and conspiracy.

Acosta said his resignation would be effective in seven days.

Shaunna Thomas, executive director and co-founder of UltraViolet, one of the groups involved in the projection, said Friday, "Acosta's resignation is good news, and demonstrates that people who enable sexual predators like Jeffrey Epstein can be held accountable".

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

Trump called Epstein a "terrific guy" in a 2002 magazine feature, but has said this week soon after that time the pair ended their friendship.

How did Acosta defend the deal?

Instead of ending up in prison for the rest of his life, Epstein struck a non-prosecution agreement, which prevented the Federal Bureau of Investigation from further investigating his sex crimes, according to a Miami Herald examination of emails, court documents and Federal Bureau of Investigation records. "Today's world treats victims very, very differently".

Acosta took office as the nation's 27th labor secretary in early 2017, leading a sprawling agency that enforces more than 180 federal laws covering about 10 million employers and 125 million workers. The department also plays a role in combatting human trafficking.

Other reports by iNewsToday