Labor Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein deal scrutiny

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WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 10: U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta speaks during a press conference July 10, 2019 at the Labor Department in Washington, DC. Secretary Acosta discussed his role in the sexual abuse case of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump says Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down following criticism of his handling of a plea deal with a wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

Trump announced the news with Acosta by his side at the White House as Trump left on a trip to the Midwest.

Acosta says stepping aside was the right decision.

He was the U.S. attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 nonprosecution agreement with Epstein. Epstein avoided federal charges and served 13 months in jail.

Similar charges recently filed against Epstein by federal prosecutors in New York had put Acosta’s role in the 2008 deal under renewed scrutiny.

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