Acosta to take questions on his handling of Epstein case

Alexander Acosta after becoming Dean of the Florida International University College of Law 2009

Alexander Acosta after becoming Dean of the Florida International University College of Law 2009

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler said Tuesday that his committee will "carefully" consider opening an investigation into the 2008 non-prosecution deal that Labor Secretary Alex Acosta - then the USA attorney in Miami - struck with multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

Epstein's arrest Monday has prompted top Democrats to call for Acosta's resignation this week.

"I can tell you that for two-and-a-half years he's been just an excellent secretary of labor, he's done a fantastic job", Trump said Tuesday. "I feel very badly about that whole situation", Trump said. He said he was just extra careful, sending them in an even more confidential manner than Darroch because he "knew nothing would remain secret". Mr Berman appealed to anyone who may have been a victim or have information to come forward. Acosta said state authorities had planned to go after Epstein with charges that would have resulted in no jail time until his office intervened and pressed for tougher consequences. Trump did not comment on what the disagreement was about.

Acosta said he welcomed the new case, calling Epstein's acts "despicable".

In that case, a federal investigation was halted when Epstein pleaded guilty to Florida state charges of a soliciting and procuring a person under 18 for prostitution.

Labour Secretary Alex Acosta says his role in a molestation case involving financier Jeffrey Epstein hasn't changed his relationship with President Donald Trump and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.

Sarnoff later explained that Epstein was one of the "original funders" of the Clinton Global Initiative, gifting the former president with $4 million.

"It shows a moral perversion on the part of Acosta himself", he said.

Acosta's Labor Department budget proposal for fiscal year 2020 proposed slashing the budget of the International Labor Affairs Bureau (ILAB) by almost 80 percent.

"If he refuses to resign, President Trump should fire him", Schumer added. Kirkland and Ellis partner Jay Lefkowitz was on the legal team representing Epstein in the case, and Alexander Acosta, who was a US attorney in Miami at the time but now serves as labor secretary under President Trump, was charged with prosecuting the case.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell called the allegations against Epstein horrendous and it was "good news that they're being pursued further". Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) also said in a tweet Tuesday that Acosta should step down.

The new charges against Epstein placed intense pressure on Acosta, who as a federal prosecutor in Florida in 2007 negotiated a secret deal with lawyers for Epstein that allowed Epstein to avoid serious prison time, protected Epstein's co-conspirators and hid the existence of the agreement from dozens of alleged victims.

The 66-year-old is expected to plead not guilty to the charges.

"It certainly is clear that it only restricts the US Attorney's office in Florida, so on its face it would appear to not preclude SDNY, but they have to be clear that this is a different crime", said Rachel Maimin, a former prosecutor in the Southern District of NY who was on the team that prosecuted Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former personal attorney.

Acosta went on to say that, in 2008, federal prosecutors from his office actually prevented state prosecutors from allowing Epstein to walk away without serving any jail time at all. NBC reports Araoz later confided in her mother, two close friends and her boyfriend at the time about her encounters with Epstein.

In February, a federal judge in Florida ruled that the 2008 agreement violated the victims' rights.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta testifies during a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the Labor Budget for Fiscal Year 2020, on Capitol Hill on April 3 in Washington, DC.

Epstein is a well-connected financier whose friends have included two US presidents, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, and Britain's Prince Andrew.

None of those people were mentioned in the indictment.

Trump typically gives his Cabinet secretaries the opportunity to defend themselves publicly in interviews and press conferences before deciding whether to pull the plug.

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