President Donald Trump announced that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has resigned, a move that comes after furor over a plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein.
Acosta has been under renewed scrutiny over his previous role as the US attorney in Miami, during which he negotiated the 2008 plea deal with Epstein. Epstein, a well-connected multi-millionaire, avoided a federal trial at the time and served only 13 months in prison for state prostitution charges over his involvement with underage girls. A Miami Herald investigation published last November described the plea deal, negotiated by Acosta, as the “deal of a lifetime.”
Acosta’s resignation is effective on July 19. Trump said the labor secretary will be replaced on an acting basis by the current deputy secretary, Pat Pizzella. Acosta, standing next to Trump outside the White House before the President departed for a trip, said he resigned to remove himself as a distraction.
“I do not think it is right and fair to this administration’s Labor Department to have Epstein as the focus rather than the incredible economy that we have today,” Acosta said Friday. “And so I called the President this morning. I told him that I thought the right thing was to step aside.”