State AG’s Office investigating Jeffrey Epstein

U.S. President Donald Trump stands with Labor Secretary Alex Acosta who announced his resignation while talking to the media at the White House

U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta stepped down Friday morning following a week of calls for his resignation related to a plea deal he cut with billionaire and accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein over a decade ago.

Trump appeared with Acosta outside of the White House on Friday to announce his resignation.

(PA) Mr Acosta says stepping aside is the right decision.

U.S. Attorney's Office produced a 53-page indictment that was abandoned after secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein's lawyer and Mr. Acosta.

Federal prosecutors in NY unsealed a new criminal indictment Monday charging Epstein with operating a sex trafficking ring in which he allegedly sexually abused dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, in NY in Florida.

Top Democratic lawmakers and presidential candidates demanded that Acosta resign over his handling of the 2008 plea deal, which a federal judge has said violated federal law because Acosta did not notify Epstein's victims of the arrangement.

Standing next to Acosta, Mr. Trump called him a "great labor secretary - not a good one".

They said in court papers Friday that he paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals, including a former employee, shortly after a published report previous year revealed a secret deal that helped him avoid federal prosecution. Epstein did serve a 13-month jail sentence in Palm Beach County, Fla., but was allowed to leave jail to work out of his office six days a week.

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Secretary Acosta "made a deal" with Jeffrey Epstein, Trump told reporters, "that people are happy with, and then 12 years later, they are not happy with it".

Both Trump and former president Bill Clinton were acquainted with Epstein, but have taken pains after the Herald reporting to distance themselves from the hedge fund manager. He said "We have an wonderful economy", and great employment numbers. The president, who publicly faults the news media nearly daily, said Acosta put the blame there, too.

Epstein, 66, reached the plea deal in Florida in 2008 to secretly end a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed him behind bars for life. "No matter how my office resolved the state charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office always had the ability to file its own federal charges".

"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world", he said.

Trump, who has previously described Epstein as a "terrific guy" who "likes lovely women", also attempted to distance himself from the financier, saying he was "not a fan" and that the two had a "falling out" years ago. Authorities in Florida, in turn, alerted New Mexico officials, who sent Epstein a letter telling him that "you are a sex offender and that you meet the requirement to register in New Mexico".

"Times have changed and coverage of this case has certainly changed since [2008]", Acosta told reporters.

Acosta, the only Hispanic member of the Trump Cabinet, used his two-and-a-half year tenure to lead the administration's efforts on apprenticeships, job training and second-chance hiring.

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