Another scandal is rocking the Trump administration, and this one's particularly upsetting. Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta, has come under scrutiny for his relationship with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who on July 6, 2019, was arrested and charged with alleged sex trafficking and conspiracy. Epstein has since pleaded not guilty, with his lawyer referring to the charges as an attempt at a "do-over" from previous charges in 2008. Acosta, who previously worked as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from 2005 to 2009, was involved in a 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges related to allegedly sexually abusing underage girls. Now, people are beginning to speculate about Acosta's involvement in Epstein's plea deal in 2008, and these tweets about Jeffrey Epstein and Alex Acosta are questioning their whole relationship.
On July 6, 2019, Epstein was arrested on charges of alleged sex trafficking and conspiracy based in part on pornographic images allegedly found in his New York City mansion, prosecutors claimed. Prosecutors alleged that he had lured "dozens" of underage girls to his homes in New York and Florida, where he allegedly sexually abused them, took photos, and coerced them into finding other potential victims. On July 8, he pleaded not guilty in the Southern District of New York, and is being held without bail. His lawyer told the court that the new charges were a "do-over" from previous charges against Epstein in 2008, and should not be allowed, per CNBC. Elite Daily reached out to Epstein's lawyer for additional comment on the charges, but did not immediately hear back.
This is not the first time Epstein has faced charges related to allegedly sexually abusing minors. Back in 2008, Epstein entered a plea deal with then-U.S. Attorney Acosta's office to end the federal probe investigating alleged sexual abuse of underage girls. Instead of federal charges, which carried the possibility of life in prison, Epstein ended up pleading guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution and procurement of minors for prostitution. He was sentenced to 13 months in county jail (with work release), and agreed to pay settlements to survivors and register as a sex offender. Since then, the deal has been criticized as extremely lenient, and a "sweetheart" deal that allowed Epstein to continue with his life with minimal interruption. Although Acosta has defended the deal, a ruling by Florida federal judge Kenneth Marra back in February 2019 stated that federal prosecutors like Acosta violated the rights of victims by reaching a secret, non-prosecution deal with Epstein in 2008. Elite Daily reached out to Acosta, who currently serves as labor secretary under President Donald Trump, for comment on the criticism, his involvement in Epstein's case at the time, and his relationship with Epstein, but did not immediately hear back.
Now, in light of Epstein's recent arrest, people are beginning to question Acosta and Epstein's relationship once again.
Some people are also tweeting that Acosta should resign following Epstein's arrest, such as Twitter user @adamcbest, who wrote, "In light of Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking arrest, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta should resign IMMEDIATELY. He broke the law to protect a serial pedophile who preyed upon dozens of underage girls." Elite Daily reached out to Acosta for comment on the calls for his resignation, but did not immediately hear back.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also shared that she believes Acosta must step down, writing, "As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice." Actor Jamie Lee Curtis also tweeted that Acosta "must resign" and that he protects no one but "rich predators."
Epstein undoubtedly has friends in high places, including friendships with both former President Bill Clinton and current President Trump. In a statement posted to Twitter on July 8, a spokesperson for Clinton said the former president knew nothing of Epstein's alleged crimes, and had not spoken to Epstein in years. Speaking to reporters on July 9, Trump said he and Epstein had a "falling out" some 15 years ago. However, it appears that members of the Trump administration aren't too concerned with Acosta's or Trump's relationship to Epstein. On Tuesday, June 9, counsellor to the president Kellyanne Conway defended Acosta, telling White House reporters, "[Trump] met Alex Acosta when Alex applied and got the job, where he’s doing a great job. You look at the economy," per The Hill.
After Epstein's recent arrest, President Trump was asked about the charges. According to CBS News, Trump responded, "I don't know about it." However, Trump has commented on his relationship with Epstein before, back in 2002. At the time, he had called Epstein a "terrific guy" and also said, "He likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life."
The Epstein case will likely continue to unfold over the next several weeks. Stay tuned.