- President Donald Trump’s embattled Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is stepping down amid backlash over a secret plea deal he orchestrated with financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein a decade ago.
- Earlier in the week, Acosta signaled in a press conference that he would not step down, but it appears he’s changed his mind.
- Acosta’s resignation will go into effect next Friday.
Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Friday announced he’s resigning just two days after a lengthy press conference in which he signaled he would not step down.
Acosta has been facing widespread calls to resign amid backlash over a secret plea deal he orchestrated for financier Jeffrey Epstein roughly a decade ago. Epstein on Saturday night was arrested on accusations of sex trafficking.
Trump appeared with Acosta outside of the White House on Friday to announce his resignation. Trump said Acosta called him this morning and that the resignation is his decision, according to White House pool reports.
"I thought the right thing was to step aside," Acosta said to reporters, Bloomberg reported.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from INSIDER.
At his press conference earlier in the week, Acosta defended his role in the Epstein plea deal in 2008. Acosta at the time was serving as the US Attorney in Miami and Epstein was facing allegations of sexually abusing more than 30 underage girls.
The multimillionaire financier could have faced life in prison, but via the controversial deal with Acosta he only spent only 13 months behind bars — including 12 hours of work release from prison, six day a week— by pleading guilty to less serious charges related to prostitution.
Epstein’s alleged victims were not informed of the deal and in February a federal judge ruled that the Justice Department violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by hiding a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein.
At Wednesday’s press conference, Acosta said he believed the deal had been appropriate at the time and offered no apology to the victims.
"The goal here was straightforward. Put Epstein behind bars, ensure he registered as a sexual offender, provide victims with a means to seek restitution, and protect the public by putting them on notice that a sexual predator was within their midst," Acosta said.
"We believe we proceeded appropriately," he added, while placing significant blame on state prosecutors whom he said wanted to let Epstein walk.
This article will continue to be updated.
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