After Reports of Sweetheart Deal for Billionaire Pedophile, Calls Grow on Trump Labor Sec. to Resign

Jake Johnson November 29, 2018

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta delivers remarks at the White House on November 15, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Labor Sec­re­tary Alexan­der Acos­ta is rumored to be on the short list of pos­si­ble attor­ney gen­er­al nom­i­nees, but he is now fac­ing demands to resign imme­di­ate­ly after an incred­i­bly dis­turb­ing” bomb­shell inves­ti­ga­tion by the Mia­mi Her­ald on Wednes­day revealed that — in his pre­vi­ous role as Miami’s top pros­e­cu­tor — Acos­ta bent over back­wards” to give a sweet­heart plea deal to bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Epstein, who has been accused of sex­u­al­ly abus­ing dozens of under­age girls.

Epstein could have end­ed up in fed­er­al prison for the rest of his life,” the Her­ald not­ed. But, thanks to Acos­ta, an extra­or­di­nary plea” was struck that conceal[ed] the full extent of Epstein’s crimes” and allowed the bil­lion­aire hedge man­ag­er to skate by with just 13 months in coun­ty jail and a non-pros­e­cu­tion agreement.

Court records reveal details of the nego­ti­a­tions and the role that Acos­ta would play in arrang­ing the deal, which scut­tled the fed­er­al probe into a pos­si­ble inter­na­tion­al sex traf­fick­ing oper­a­tion,” the Her­ald found. Among oth­er things, Acos­ta allowed Epstein’s lawyers unusu­al free­doms in dic­tat­ing the terms of the non-pros­e­cu­tion agreement.

Vic­tims of Epstein — who has been a friend of pow­er­ful polit­i­cal fig­ures such as for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and cur­rent Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump—“believe they’ve been silenced by a crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem that stub­born­ly fails to hold Epstein and oth­er wealthy and pow­er­ful men account­able,” the Her­ald notes.

As soon as that deal was signed, they silenced my voice and the voic­es of all of Jef­frey Epstein’s oth­er vic­tims,” said Court­ney Wild, who told the Her­ald she was first abused by Epstein when she was 14.

Acosta’s cen­tral role in shield­ing Epstein from pun­ish­ment was imme­di­ate­ly met with wide­spread fury and demands that he either step down or be impeached.

It is hor­ri­fy­ing that Acos­ta would be a mem­ber of good soci­ety again, let alone in the line of suc­ces­sion to the pres­i­den­cy,” Jeff Hauser of the Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Pol­i­cy Research, wrote on Twit­ter—a sen­ti­ment that was wide­ly echoed in response to the Her­alds explo­sive investigation.

This sto­ry was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished on Com­mon Dreams.

Jake John­son is a staff writer for Com­mon Dreams. Fol­low him on Twit­ter: @johnsonjakep
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