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Acosta has long faced intense public criticism for helping Epstein secure a "sweetheart plea deal" while serving as Miami's top federal prosecutor
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta reached a deal with Jeffrey Epstein, an alleged serial child molester and associate of President Donald Trump's, allowing Epstein to walk free.
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The arrest of financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein on federal child sex trafficking charges elicited fresh demands for the resignation of Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who helped Epstein secure a "sweetheart plea deal" for previous allegations while serving as Miami's top federal prosecutor over a decade ago.
Following news of Epstein's arrest late Saturday, reporters, politicians, and other observers called on Acosta to immediately step down -- bolstering demands that have mounted in recent months amid a legal challenge to Epstein's deal filed by survivors.
CNN opinion contributor Raul A. Reyes wrote Sunday that "Acosta's actions are worthy of bipartisan outrage and should offend every American father and mother. Acosta betrayed the vulnerable to benefit the powerful. His deal for Epstein shows a disregard for child welfare, victims' rights and Justice Department procedures. Ironically, as secretary of labor, Acosta is responsible for monitoring human trafficking."
Over the years, Epstein has been tied to various high-profile individuals, including retired Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz and the U.K.'s Prince Andrew as well as former President Bill Clinton and current President Donald Trump.
According to the Daily Beast, which first reported on the financier's arrest late Saturday:
"Epstein was arrested for allegedly sex trafficking dozens of minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, and will appear in court in New York on Monday, according to three law enforcement sources. Epstein, who owns a New York City mansion and an island in the Caribbean, was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan ahead of his court date.
"Saturday's arrest by the FBI-NYPD Crimes Against Children Task Force comes about 12 years after the 66-year-old financier essentially got a slap on the wrist for allegedly molesting dozens of underage girls in Florida.
"For more than a decade, Epstein's alleged abuse of minors has been the subject of lawsuits brought by victims, investigations by local and federal authorities, and expose's in the press. But despite the attention cast on his alleged sex crimes, the hedge-funder has managed to avoid any meaningful jail time, let alone federal charges.- Advertisement -
"The new indictment -- which, according to two sources, will be unsealed Monday in Manhattan federal court -- will reportedly allege that Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage girls in a now-familiar scheme: paying them cash for 'massages' and then molesting or sexually abusing them in his Upper East Side mansion or his palatial residence in Palm Beach. Epstein will be charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors -- which could put him away for a maximum of 45 years. The case is being handled by the Public Corruption Unit of the Southern District of New York, with assistance from the district's human-trafficking officials and the FBI."
Sources told the Miami Herald that Epstein was arrested at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport and "around 5:30 p.m. Saturday, about a dozen federal agents broke down the door to Epstein's Manhattan townhouse to execute search warrants." A source in New York told the Florida newspaper that Monday's bail hearing "will be critical because if they grant him bail, he has enough money that he will disappear and they will never get him."
In a series of stories from last November titled "Perversion of Justice," Herald reporter Julie K. Brown detailed how Acosta, then U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, worked with Epstein's attorneys to craft an agreement that was kept secret from Epstein's victims.