US Labor Secretary Acosta Announces Resignation Over Epstein Case
US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Friday announced his resignation after intense public scrutiny over his role in approving a 2007 non-prosecution agreement with accused sex trafficker billionaire Jeffrey Epstein
"I called the president this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside," Acosta told reports at the White House.
Federal prosecutors in the state of New York indicted Epstein on Monday on charges of running a sex-trafficking operation that lured dozens of underage girls to sex parties in his New York mansion and his estate in Florida between 2002 and 2005.
Epstein was previously targeted by an investigation in 2005 over allegations that he solicited sexual services from girls as young as 14 or 15 years, and allegedly loaned the girls to other people for sexual exploits.
However, Epstein reached a plea deal with prosecutors by pleading guilty to charges of soliciting prostitution and serving 13 months in prison.
US Senator Bernie Sanders in a statement said Acosta should never have been nominated as Labor Secretary in the first place.
"Now is the time to put an end to our two-tiered criminal justice system. We need a Labor Secretary who puts workers first, not billionaires - and certainly not billionaire sexual predators of underage girls," Sanders said on Friday.
On Thursday, US Representatives Ted Lieu and Karen Bass sent a letter to the Justice Department to ask for a briefing on Epstein's 2007 non-prosecution agreement and any misconduct by Acosta.