Acosta defends role in Epstein plea deal, answers loaded questions in tense presser

Amidst calls for him to resign his position, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta defended his role in a controversial plea deal previously given to financier Jeffrey Epstein, a man who was charged recently with sex trafficking.

“Facts are important, and facts are being overlooked,” Acosta said about the reporting on a 2008 plea deal that Epstein took which gave him just an 18 month jail sentence — he only actually served 13 months. Epstein was charged at the time with soliciting an underage girl for prostitution.

(Screenshot from NBC News)

Acosta has come under heavy fire for his role in the plea deal as he was the U.S. attorney for Florida at the time the deal was made.

“Simply put, the Palm Beach state attorney’s office was ready to let Epstein walk free, no jail time,” Acosta said at a Wednesday press conference. “Prosecutors in my former office found this to be completely unacceptable.”

Acosta said while state prosecutors wanted Epstein to walk free, he and his office managed to get jail time for the well-connected financier, as well as getting Epstein to register as a sex offender.

“There was value to getting a guilty plea and having him register,” Acosta said.

Despite defending his role in the plea deal, Acosta admitted that Epstein “absolutely” deserved a “stiffer sentence” for his “despicable” crimes.

Acosta also defended the Epstein decision by saying, “these cases are complex.”

“Many question the terms of that ultimatum, what’s called the non-prosecution agreement,” he said. “A good prosecutor will tell you these cases are complex.”

Acosta did admit that Epstein’s alleged victims are clearly not pleased with the way the previous case against the man went.

“As you watch these victim interviews, it’s very obvious that the victims feel that this was not a sufficient outcome. These victims were traumatized,” he said.

Acosta previously took to Twitter to address the Epstein case. He said he was “pleased” that prosecutors are now moving on the billionaire financier with new evidence.

“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta tweeted.

He continued, “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 ended by saying, “Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”

Amid calls for Acosta to resign, President Donald Trump defended his labor secretary this week.

“I can only say this from what I know, and what I do know is he has been a really great secretary of labor—the rest of it, we’ll have to look at it. We’ll have to look at it very carefully,” Trump said. “I feel very badly actually for Secretary Acosta because I have known him as being someone who has done such a good job. I feel very badly about that situation.”


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