Democrats call for USA labour chief to resign over Epstein deal

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Labour Secretary Alex Acosta says that when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida, his office acted appropriately when it came to the secret plea deal offered to hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago in a molestation case.

Epstein pleaded not guilty on Monday to new child sex-trafficking charges.

As a US attorney in Florida in 2008, Acosta agreed to a secret deal that let Epstein serve 13 months in a local jail-with a generous work release program-rather than face trial and a potential life sentence in federal prison.

Democratic leaders issued a flurry of calls Tuesday for Acosta to step down.

Epstein visited Trump's Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach and posed for photos there with Trump in 1997 and 2000. And finally, what is completely unprecedented and that I've never seen is this very broad agreement that they would not prosecute any of Epstein's co-conspirators. So we're going to look at it very carefully. Both men eventually left the cabinet.

Epstein's case drew renewed attention earlier this year after a Miami Herald report highlighted the plea deal and victims' ongoing struggle for justice.

"The president obviously wasn't involved in the case, didn't know Acosta at the time and didn't follow the case very closely", she added. And, he added, "you're talking about a long time ago".

"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 tweeted.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Acosta must step down - or be fired.

She went on to say that Gerald Lefcourt, one of Epstein's attorneys during his original arrest, claimed in a letter that has since been made public that Epstein was an original funder of the Clinton Global Initiative (Disclosure: Lefcourt's byline has appeared on a couple of Law&Crime op-eds in the past). It is even said that he likes handsome women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.

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He contends that the central bank made a huge mistake by tightening credit a year ago and should be cutting rates now. President Trump has repeatedly argued that the USA economy would be growing faster if the Fed lowered interest rates.

"Alex Acosta should resign as Labor Secretary", Sen.

Best-selling author James Patterson - who wrote "Filthy Rich: The Billionaire's Sex Scandal-The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein" - told Fox News on Tuesday that then-private citizen Donald Trump threw alleged pedophile Jeffrey Epstein out of Mar-a-Lago after he was notified about complaints being made against Epstein.

Acosta's role in the Florida deal for Epstein was raised by Democrat Tim Kaine at his confirmation hearing in the Republican-led Senate.

A search of Epstein's NY property turned up "nude photographs of what appeared to be underage girls", prosecutor Geoffrey Berman told a press conference on Monday.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to new charges in New York City.

In 2002, US President Donald Trump - at the time a high-profile real estate developer - told NY magazine he had known Epstein for "fifteen years" and said he was a "terrific guy".

Acosta's response leaves more to be desired, especially considering the current case against Epstein, but it does help explain why his office agreed to a plea deal at the time. Acosta, when he was the US attorney in Miami, agreed in 2008 to an Epstein guilty plea agreement under which he served 13 months in a local stockade, but was freed half of most days to go to work at his office.

Epstein is a well-connected financier whose friends also included former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, and numerous other celebrities. None of those people was mentioned in the indictment and prosecutors declined to comment on anyone said to be associated with Epstein.

Acosta, previously a member of the National Labor Relations Board and an assistant attorney general under President George W. Bush, has served as labor secretary since 2017.