Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down amid criticism over a plea agreement he reached with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein during his time as U.S. attorney in Florida.
President Donald Trump announced Friday morning at the White House that Acosta is resigning. The secretary has received intense criticism over a lenient plea deal he agreed to with Epstein in 2008 that only required Epstein to serve a little more than a year in prison on a work/release program. He also reportedly didn’t notify or consult the victims of the crime before making the agreement with Epstein’s team, a violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. (RELATED: POLL: One-Third Of Americans View Media As ‘Enemy Of The People’)
Trump said Acosta informed him of his decision Friday morning, and that it was his decision alone. He is expected to leave next week, effective July 19. (RELATED: Alan Dershowitz Defends Role In Epstein Plea Deal)
“This was him, not me, because I’m with him,” Trump said. “I said, ‘You don’t have to do this.’”
Acosta held a press conference earlier this week to defend his handling of the case, but failed to quiet the criticism or stem the calls for his resignation.
Acosta was first sworn in as labor secretary in April 2017, and is one of the longest serving members in Trump’s cabinet.