Labor Secretary Alex Acosta defended his handling of a controversial plea deal with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, as the top three Senate Democratic leaders called on him to resign, Politico reports. Acosta tweeted on Tuesday that he supports the “horrific” new charges against the billionaire financier while defending his own past actions.The financier is charged with running a sex ring of underage girls. “With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator,” said Acosta, who was a U.S. Attorney in Florida at the time of the original case. “Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”
Still, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said that Acosta should go because of the “sweetheart” deal he cut with Epstein 2008, an escalation from his comment Monday that Acosta needed to “explain himself” for allowing Epstein to serve 13 months in prison and avoid a federal trial. House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Acosta struck an “unconscionable agreement” with Epstein that was “known” by Donald Trump at the time. Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) said Acosta’s involvement with Epstein is “serious enough for him to resign.” No Republicans who supported Acosta have called on him to go, but Durbin said the pressure could become untenable. Trump said Acosta has “been a great, really great secretary of Labor. The rest of it we’ll have to look at — we‘ll have to look at it very carefully.” At the Labor Department, Acosta is proposing 80 percent funding cuts for the International Labor Affairs Bureau, which combats child sex trafficking, The Guardian reports.