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Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Will Resign

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta Will Resign

Trump said Acosta called him this morning and that the resignation is his decision, according to White House pool reports.

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that his embattled labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, has resigned. The president, who publicly faults the news media nearly daily, said Acosta put the blame there, too.

Acosta becomes the latest in a long line of high-profile officials to resign their post. "I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside", Acosta said standing next to the President. The financier faced similar charges back in 2008, when Acosta, then a US 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 plead guilty to two counts of soliciting prostitution from a minor and was sentenced to just 18 months in prison, of which he served only 13. He paid settlements to victims and is a registered sex offender.

US prosecutors in NY on Monday accused Epstein, 66, of sex trafficking, luring dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his luxury homes and coercing them into sex acts. The charges were brought following an investigation by the Miami Herald. As U.S. attorney, Acosta approved the deal. He has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy. Acosta was the US attorney for southern Florida and many thought he gave Epstein a minor slap on the wrist. "But he did an unbelievable job as the secretary of Labor". But Acosta had defended his actions, insisting at a news conference Wednesday that he got the toughest deal on Epstein that he could get at the time. The president said Acosta had been a "great" labor secretary.

"We believe that we proceeded appropriately", Acosta said at the conference, "Times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed".

Mr Acosta had been under pressure from Democrats to quit. He blamed Epstein's victims-36, on the record, some with signed statements backed up by a 53-page indictment-for being unable to stand up to testifying in court, as if it weren't 2008 but, say, 17th-century Massachusetts Bay Colony during the Salem Witch Trials-when girls would be slut-shamed on the stand.

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But in the next breath, the president left open the possibility that Epstein's arrest on sex-trafficking charges and the 2007 plea deal that Acosta approved had left the Labor secretary on shaky ground.

Acosta was working as a public prosecutor at the time.

"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world ... today's world treats victims very, very differently", he said.

"Jeffrey Epstein is not a man I respected", he said. Epstein counted rich and powerful among his friends, including Presidents Clinton and Trump. "I wasn't a big fan of Jeffrey Epstein, that I can tell you".

She spoke hours after Trump hailed Acosta as a "great" labor secretary, and expressed sympathy for Acosta's predicament of being questioned about the deal he reached, comparing it to his own struggles negotiating deals with Democrats.

The strategist, who was not authorized to speak for the White House and requested anonymity, said the local prosecutor's comments contradicting Acosta were also "pretty bad".