US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta has announced his resignation over the US financial adviser Jeffrey Epstein's abusive affair. He informed President Donald Trump of his resignation plans, Acosta said in a joint appearance with Trump in the White House. Trump said Acosta was a "very good minister of labor."
Epstein is said to have sexually abused dozens of minors and instigated prostitution. The financier had escaped a federal trial in 2008 for abuse allegations because he entered into a deal with the state prosecutor at the federal level, which saved him from further investigation. (Read our background report on the Epstein case here.)
Controversial out-of-court deal
At the time, Epstein pleaded guilty to providing clients with underage prostitutes and served a 13-month prison sentence, sometimes in relaxed conditions. Acosta agreed to the deal as a prosecutor in Florida. The US Democrats therefore demanded Acosta's resignation as Labor Minister. They complain that Epstein got away too leniently with the deal.
The New York prosecutor had recently raised new charges against Epstein. She accuses him of abusing dozens of minor girls. The 66-year-old had between 2002 and 2005 in New York and Florida built an illegal sex trade ring, it said in the indictment. Epstein pleaded not guilty.
The financial adviser is considered to be well-connected, celebrations and receptions hosted by celebrities and high-ranking politicians, including Trump and former US President Bill Clinton.