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Labor Secretary Acosta defends role in Epstein plea deal, faults state prosecutors
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta pushed back Wednesday against calls for him to step down over his past involvement in a plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was charged in federal court this week with sex trafficking -- saying his office fought for a tougher punishment after state prosecutors were ready to let him "walk free."
"Facts are important, and facts are being overlooked," he said at a press conference, giving his most detailed account to date of the 2008 deal.
Acosta, who was U.S. attorney for Florida at the time, helped Epstein secure a plea deal that resulted in an 18-month sentence — he served just 13 months. The deal was criticized as lenient because Epstein could have faced a life sentence. Acosta negotiated a deal that resulted in two state solicitation charges, but no federal charges.
But he said Wednesday that his office intervened only after state prosecutors were ready to let Epstein walk free.
Acosta also said Epstein’s work release during his jail term was “BS.”
Well Mr Acosta, at least your goal was to send him to prison and force him to register. Can you believe those Democrat counties were not even going to have him register as a sex offender? People should be disgusted to even identify as a Democrat when a judicial system in a Democrat majority county will not even force a rapist to register as a sex offender until a Federal prosecutor stepped in out of disgust!
“But how many times have you seen a federal office step into a state matter and stay to stop the state plea because it is insufficient?”
Acosta said he wasn’t ordered by anyone at DOJ to cut a deal with Epstein.
Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta avoided on Wednesday answering a reporter's question about whether he consented to a lenient plea deal for pedophile Jeffrey Epstein in 2007 because he was instructed that the financier was a spy. According to The Daily Beast, when President Donald Trump's transition team vetted Acosta for the top Labor Department post, he was asked about the deal and replied that he had 'been told' to go easy.
Acosta, in one source's telling, said he 'was told Epstein "belonged to intelligence" and to leave it alone.'
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, he dodged a pointed question about whether that version of events was true.
'Were you ever made aware at any point in your handling of this case,' a reporter asked Acosta, 'that Mr. Epstein was an intelligence asset of some sort?'
Acosta neither confirmed nor denied it.