Labor Sec. Acosta Hails Jeffrey Epstein Charges, Calls Crimes ‘Horrific’

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New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta on Tuesday welcomed new sex trafficking charges brought against hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein as the Trump official faces blowback for cutting a plea deal with him over a decade ago.

“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Acosta concluded his statement saying that new evidence provides prosecutors an “important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”

Acosta was a South Florida federal prosecutor when he was involved in a 2008 plea deal that let Epstein avoid prosecution on federal charges. That investigation involved at least 40 teenage girls, and the agreement let him avoid a possible life sentence had he been convicted.

Under the 2008 deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution and served 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed out to go to his office during the day.

Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges in New York City. He was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday.

Acosta’s statements come as congressional Democrat leaders are calling for his resignation over his role in the plea deal. On Monday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) tweeted: “.@SecretaryAcosta must step down. As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice. This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined Pelosi on Tuesday, accusing the former Miami federal prosecutor of being too lenient with the wealthy financier.

“Instead of prosecuting a predator and serial sex trafficker of children, Acosta chose to let him off easy,” said Schumer. “This is not acceptable. We cannot have as one of the leading appointed officials in America someone who has done this.”

2020 White House hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have also called for Acosta to step down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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