After new allegations surrounding accused paedophile Jefferey Epstein embroiled the US Labor secretary Alexander Acosta, and press conferences to try to smooth things over, US president Donald Trump announced on Friday that Acosta will be resigning.
Much of this began when, back in of November 2018, the Miami Harold published a piece on a plea agreement struck between Epstein’s lawyers and then Florida’s southern district attorney general Acosta, which gave Epstein a much more lenient sentence for the trafficking of underage women. The plea deal let Epstein go to jail for 13 months, while receiving immunity from federal prosecution for Epstein and his accomplices, in exchange for pleading guilty to two prostitution charges.
A week ago, Epstein was arrested outside of New York and was arraigned in court and is awaiting trial. With the news surrounding Epstein’s arrest, more attention began to be paid to Labor Secretary Acosta’s role in Epstein’s 2008 plea deal. The news and questions surrounding Acosta’s role in the plea deal became intense enough that Acosta held a press conference on Wednesday to assure reporters that he did nothing wrong in offering the non-prosecution agreement with Epstein.
Two days later, Trump announced Acosta’s decision to resign.
While Trump had thought the press conference had gone well and that Acosta had cleared his name, the constant negative press that ensued the following day was enough for Acosta to say to Trump that he was resigning.
Trump said Acosta had handed in his resignation on Friday, tweeting “Alex Acosta informed me this morning that he felt the constant drumbeat of press about a prosecution which took place under his watch more than 12 years ago was bad for the Administration, which he so strongly believes in, and he graciously tendered his resignation. Alex was a great Secretary of Labor and his service is truly appreciated. He will be replaced on an acting basis by Pat Pizzella, the current Deputy Secretary.”
The resignation of Acosta continues to raise the already high turnover rate at the White House, with Acosta’s resignation marking the ninth cabinet level departure in the Trump administration so far. That is the same amount of resignations that Clinton, W.Bush and Obama had throughout each of their eight years in office.