Shelby Talcott, DCNF
The House Oversight committee sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta Wednesday asking him to attend a meeting to “examine” his actions regarding a light plea deal with accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.
Epstein was arrested Saturday for allegedly sex trafficking minors between 2002 and 2005. He was previously arrested in 2008 on two counts of prostitution, one with a minor, and received a light sentence courtesy of Acosta, who was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida at the time.
The hearing plans to look at Acosta’s decision to authorize a non-prosecution deal for billionaire Epstein in 2008. Acosta also violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, a federal law, and the hearing plans to discuss this as well, according to the letter.
Acosta violated federal law when he kept the plea agreement secret from Epstein’s victims, the letter reads.
House Oversight wants to question Alex Acosta about plea deal with Epstein on July 23 https://t.co/U2B1AYZW8N
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) July 10, 2019
“Your testimony is even more critical now that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York unsealed a new indictment earlier this week outlining a host of additional charges against Mr. Epstein, including luring dozens of teenage girls to his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, and paying them to engage in sexual activity with him,” the letter read.
The request for questioning comes as many have called for Acosta to step down due to the light plea deal given to Epstein, which included serving 13-months in jail. Epstein was allowed to leave jail every day to go to work, according to the arrangement.
Acosta defended his 2008 deal with Epstein on Twitter Tuesday, writing that it was the result of the “evidence available more than a decade ago.”
“The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence,” Acosta tweeted Tuesday. “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.”
“Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice.”
The House Oversight hearing is set for July 23. Epstein pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking minors Monday.