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Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned Friday amid growing backlash over his handling of the 2008 sex abuse prosecution of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.
Speaking to reporters outside the White House Friday morning, President Trump said Acosta offered to resign to spare the administration from any further distractions associated with the mounting scandal surrounding his prosecution of Epstein in 2008 on sex abuse charges.
The announcement comes just two days after Acosta held a press conference to push back on the many critics in Congress and the media who have argued in recent days that he failed Epstein’s victims by offering a non-prosecution agreement that required just a 13-month jail sentence.
Acosta blamed the Florida state attorney’s office for the lenient sentence, arguing that his office stepped in late in the prosecution and secured the best deal possible to prevent the state from letting Epstein off with no jail time.
“The Palm Beach state attorney’s office was ready to let Epstein walk free. No jail time, nothing,” Acosta told reporters at the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable and they became involved. . . . Our prosecutors, as this 2008 article recounts, presented the ultimatum: plead guilty to more serious charges — charges that require jail time, registration, and restitution — or we’d roll the dice and bring a federal indictment. Without the work of prosecutors, Epstein would have gotten away with just that state charge.”
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