Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta has tendered his resignation to President Trump after facing criticism for a plea deal he struck with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 after Epstein was charged with luring teenage girls to his mansion for sex.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Trump made the announcement Friday, telling reporters that Acosta called him that morning. The president said, “It’s his [Acosta’s] decision.”
Acosta said he wanted to avoid becoming a distraction and allow the administration to focus on the economy.
Epstein was arrested last week on charges of sex trafficking of minors and pleaded not guilty Monday. The financier faced similar charges back in 2008, when Acosta, then a U.S. attorney in Florida, was key in negotiating a plea deal that resulted in Epstein pleading guilty to state prostitution charges and serving 13 months in a local facility — though he was permitted to work from his office six days per week. Epstein and an associate were also granted immunity from federal prosecution. Epstein would have faced a potential life sentence in prison.
Acosta gave a press conference Wednesday defending his 2008 actions, though a judge ruled in February that Acosta violated the law by neglecting to tell Epstein’s victims about the deal and the Justice Department has opened an investigation into Acosta’s handling of the case.