Secretary Of Labor Alex Acosta Resigns Amid Growing Jeffrey Epstein Scandal

President Trump speaks to members of the media with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta on the South Lawn of the White House on Friday

"I was told Epstein "belonged to intelligence" and to leave it alone", he told interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta.

Trump named Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella as the acting secretary of Labor.

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

Similar charges filed against Epstein by federal prosecutors in NY this week had put Acosta's handling of the 2008 agreement with the now-jailed financier back in the spotlight.

Announcing Acosta's resignation, he said: "Yes, I did have a falling out a long time ago. It would be selfish to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that's 12 year old, rather than the fantastic economy we have right now".

This came just days after Acosta held a press conference in which he defended his role in getting convicted child abuser Jeffrey Epstein a ludicrously light plea agreement back in 2007. Prosecutors have also said that Epstein posed a flight risk due to his wealth. Among their frustrations were Acosta's decisions to proceed with several employment discrimination lawsuits and to allow certain Obama holdovers to remain on the job.

That's fine and good, but Trump was smart enough to accept the resignation.

Only the departments of Treasury, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Energy, Commerce and Agriculture continue with the leaders that were first confirmed.

But a 2002 interview has become problematic for Trump and his perpetually scandal-plagued White House.

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Under that agreement, Epstein - who otherwise faced a potential sentence of life in prison - pleaded guilty to two felony solicitation charges and was sentenced to 13 months in county jail.

"Acosta should have stepped down when I first called for his resignation in February after a federal judge found that he broke the law when he violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act".

"I hate to see this happen", Trump said, adding that Acosta had done a "great" job as labour secretary.

Earlier this week both Acosta and Trump sought to defend the plea deal. He said "We have an fantastic economy", and great employment numbers. Mr. Trump said people were initially happy with it, then changed their minds. "Today's world treats victims very, very differently".

It was never a matter of "if", but "when" Alex Acosta would step down in the days after sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein's arrest.

Earlier this week, attornies for Epstein proposed that he be released into home detention on a bail package valued at $77 million, secured by the mortgage on his Manhattan mansion.

He said he took the decision because he did not want the case to overshadow his work as labor secretary. The Justice Department has been investigating.

Elected officials and others are calling for the former Miami U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, who oversaw Epstein's deal, to resign from his current position as the federal Labor Department secretary.

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