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Acosta resigning from role as Labor Secretary amid fallout from Epstein deal - National


U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is resigning from his position after a week of criticism over his role in brokering a plea deal with financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.

President Donald Trump announced the resignation to reporters at the White House Friday morning. Acosta will be temporarily replaced by deputy labour secretary Patrick Pizzella.

WATCH: Value in guilty plea, registering Epstein as a sex offender: Acosta says

The president told reporters that Acosta had done a good job in his position, but that he’d become a “distraction” to the administration over how he handled the assault case of Epstein as a prosecutor a decade ago.

Acosta was an attorney in Miami when he oversaw the 2008 non-prosecution agreement with Epstein, who avoided federal charges and served 13 months in jail.

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The case was once again highlighted when the prosecutors in New York brought their charges on Monday, alleging Epstein abused dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s, paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for massages, then molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York.

Epstein was arrested last Saturday on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy, and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. If convicted he could be imprisoned for the rest of his life.

READ MORE: Jeffrey Epstein wants to be released on house arrest at his $77M mansion

While Trump defended Acosta, he stated he would look closely at the Epstein settlement.

Acosta defended himself to reporters on Wednesday, insisting that “in our heart we were trying to do the right thing for these victims.”

“We believe that we proceeded appropriately,” he said, a contention challenged by critics who say Epstein’s penalty was egregiously light.

WATCH: Acosta says all Epstein records are public yet no media coverage

“We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail,” Acosta said. “He needed to go to jail.”

While Trump defended Acosta, he stated he would look closely at the Epstein settlement.

— With files from Reuters and the Associated Press. 

More to come.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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