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US Labour Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein deal scrutiny

US Labour Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein deal scrutiny

(PA) Mr Acosta says stepping aside is the right decision. "Not just him. I can only say this from what I know and what I do know is that he's been a great - really great secretary of labor".

When Labor Secretary Alex Acosta steps down on July 19, his deputy Patrick Pizzella will step in as acting head of the department.

In 2008, then-federal prosecutor Acosta's team cut a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein that ended with the billionaire copping to solicitation charges, having to register as a sex offender, and spending over a year in county jail. He paid settlements to victims and is a registered sex offender.

She spoke hours after Trump hailed Acosta as a "great" labor secretary, and expressed sympathy for Acosta's predicament of being questioned about the deal he reached, comparing it to his own struggles negotiating deals with Democrats. "He needed to go to jail".

"We live in a very different world", Acosta said.

After Acosta's news conference, the reaction inside the White House was mixed, according to a senior White House official, who requested anonymity to speak more candidly.

The Epstein case came up Acosta's Senate confirmation hearing but the Republican-majority Senate approved him in a 60-38 vote.

Acosta didn't perform badly at the conference.

Trump, with Acosta at his side, said Friday he did not ask his secretary to leave and "I hate to see this happen".

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Acosta has served in Trump's Cabinet since April 2017.

A Republican strategist frequently in touch with the White House said lawyers in the White House counsel's office viewed the 2008 plea deal as seriously flawed and did not expect the controversy to fade.

Prosecutors are asking Epstein to stay in jail until a trial over fears he will flee the country at the first opportunity. "You'll have to figure that out".

State attorney general spokesman Matt Baca said in an emailed statement Friday that the office was interviewing people who say they were victims of Epstein. Forget about Ryan "remounting the moral high horse about this president's personal life - I don't care about his personal life", Cuomo said.

Trump also tweeted Friday: "Alex Acosta informed me this morning that he felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation".

The New Mexico Attorney General's office has been in contact with victims of Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund manager with New Mexico ties who was arrested last weekend in NY on new charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy, a spokesperson said Thursday.

How did Acosta defend the deal?

"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".

Acosta had responded to the criticism on Tuesday by saying on Twitter that Epstein's crimes were "horrific" and that he was glad prosecutors were moving forward based on new evidence and testimony that could "more fully bring him to justice".


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