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Trump man defends handling of sex predator's case

Publish date: 12 July 2019
Issue Number: 4738
Diary: Legalbrief Today
Category: Criminal

US Labour Secretary R Alexander Acosta has defended his handling of the sex crimes prosecution of the financier Jeffrey Epstein in Florida more than a decade ago, bucking a growing chorus of Democratic resignation calls while effectively making the case to President Donald Trump to keep his job. A report in The New York Times notes that at a televised news conference Acosta offered a clinical explanation of the 2008 plea deal, arguing that he overrode state authorities to ensure that Epstein would face jail time and that holding out for a stiffer sentence by going to trial would have been ‘a roll of the dice.’ ‘I wanted to help them,’ Acosta, who was the top federal prosecutor in Miami at the time, said of the victims during an hour-long session with reporters at the Labour Department. ‘That is why we intervened. And that’s what the prosecutors of my office did – they insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator.’ The NYT says his comments did little to quell the furore over the deal, which has come under renewed scrutiny since Epstein was charged in New York this week with running a sex-trafficking operation that lured dozens of girls, some as young as 14, to his Upper East Side home in New York and to a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. The White House made no official statement, and Trump’s Twitter account remained silent on the matter in the hours after the news conference. Acosta expressed confidence that he still had Trump’s backing and rejected reports that Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, had suggested he be forced out. ‘My relationship with the President is outstanding,’ he said. ‘He has very publicly made clear that I’ve got his support.’

Full report in The New York Times