Left Menu
Development News Edition

US Labour Secretary Acosta resigns over Epstein affair

PTI | Washington DC | Updated: 12-07-2019 20:34 IST | Created: 12-07-2019 20:34 IST
US Labour Secretary Acosta resigns over Epstein affair

Washington, Jul 12 (AFP) US Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned Friday, amid a backlash over a secret plea deal he negotiated a decade ago with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier accused of sexually abusing young girls. Acosta, 50, a former federal prosecutor, had been facing mounting calls to quit over the deal that saw Epstein serve just 13 months in a county jail.

"I called the president this morning and told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside," Acosta said in a joint appearance with President Donald Trump at the White House. Epstein, 66, was charged on Monday by prosecutors in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Trump, who had defended Acosta after Epstein's arrest, described him as a "tremendous talent" and "great secretary of labour" who had done a "very good job." The president said Patrick Pizzella, Acosta's deputy, "will do the job. Highly recommended by Alex. Going to be acting. He's already been told." According to prosecutors, Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teen girls at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. Some were as young as 14.

Acosta fielded a barrage of questions Wednesday from reporters about his office's handling of the Epstein case when he was a federal prosecutor in Florida. The deal reached with Epstein required him to admit a single state charge of soliciting prostitution from a minor and register as a sex offender.

Acosta said prosecutors agreed to the deal rather than take Epstein to trial on more serious charges because that would have been a "roll of the dice." "The goal here was straightforward," he said. "Put Epstein behind bars, ensure he registered as a sexual offender, provide victims with the means to seek restitution, and protect the public by putting them on notice that a sexual predator was in their midst."

Acosta welcomed the revived charges against Epstein but demurred when asked whether he should apologise to the victims in the Florida case. Another alleged victim of Epstein went public Wednesday with her claim that he raped her when she was 15 years old.

Jennifer Araoz, 32, told NBC News that she was recruited by a woman outside her New York City high school in 2001 to meet Epstein at his Manhattan townhouse. She said that in the fall of 2002, Epstein raped her. "He raped me, forcefully raped me," Araoz said, adding that she did not return to his home after that day.

She said she was afraid at the time of going to the authorities. Top Democrats in Congress, including House speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, have called this week for Acosta's resignation.

"Acosta was never fit to serve in the Cabinet - his departure is the right thing for our country," tweeted Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary Clinton's running mate when she lost the 2016 election to Trump. "Now it's time to focus on finally securing justice for survivors of Epstein's abuse and getting a Labor Secretary who will stand up for workers and trafficking victims." (AFP) SCY

SCY

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

'Diya jalaao' for COVID 19: Modi needs to practice his teachings and control fake news on social media

In his video message to the nation on Friday the Prime Minister talks about peoples collective power to win the invincible. However, he has made no concreate efforts to win over the confidence and represent the collective power of the polit...

Tourism post-COVID 19: Lessons learned, out-of-box strategies to ensure the revival

In the pre-COVID 19 period the tourism industry was seen with much hope throughout the world. However, the COVID 19 pandemic has completely paralysed the tourism industry and its dependent sectors. The tourism industry in the post-COVID 19 ...

Cybersecurity post-COVID 19: More internet means more threats, stay alert folks!

When supported by adequate digital awareness campaigns and more crackdowns on cybercrimes, increased internet usage will help more people embrace technology and better understand the risks, bringing us closer to unleashing the true potentia...

Rising temperatures in India seem to counter the spread of COVID 19 infections

Scary predictions on the rate of spread of COVID 19 infections in India are floating in media. But the data on the spread of infections coming so far point to a contrary trajectory putting a question mark on such predictions. Explanations o...

Videos

Latest News

EXCLUSIVE-Airbus weighs sharp cut in A320 series plane production -sources

Airbus is studying a sharp cut in output of its top-selling A320 plane series in light of industrial and delivery challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis, four people familiar with the matter said. Airbus may have to cut its official mon...

US STOCKS-Futures dip ahead of payrolls, business activity data

U.S. stock index futures fell on Friday, with investors awaiting data on non-farm payrolls and business activity to assess the extent of the economic hit from the coronavirus.Wall Street gained about 2 on Thursday as oil soared on hints of ...

Indian-origin doctor leads COVID-19 safety equipment campaign

An Indian-origin doctor campaigning for better access to the personal protection equipment PPE for medics across hospitals, dealing with the rapidly rising cases of the novel coronavirus, on Friday, welcomed the UK governments updated guida...

Light physical activity linked to better daily function in stroke survivors: Study

Stroke survivors who take leisurely walks or attend to nonstrenuous household chores may experience fewer physical limitations than their more sedentary peers, according to a study which may lead to better clinical recovery guidelines for t...

Give Feedback