Photo: AP

Three days after billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York with sex trafficking young girls in the mid-2000s, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta—the former federal prosecutor who orchestrated Epstein’s ridiculously lax non-prosecution agreement the last time he was arrested—is scrambling to cover his ass.

Acosta tweeted on Tuesday:

As the Miami Herald meticulously reported in its 2018 bombshell investigation into Epstein’s plea deal a decade earlier, Acosta, then Miami’s top federal prosecutor, was instrumental in negotiating an agreement wherein “Not only would Epstein serve just 13 months in the county jail, but the deal—called a non-prosecution agreement—essentially shut down an ongoing FBI probe into whether there were more victims and other powerful people who took part in Epstein’s sex crimes.”

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Epstein subsequently pleaded guilty to just two state charges of prostitution and spent much of his sentence on work release. He has pleaded not guilty to the newest charges brought against him in New York.

All of this makes Acosta’s lip service about “more fully” bringing Epstein to justice that much more ridiculous. By claiming that “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,” Acosta is willfully ignoring the fact that, by negotiating a non-prosecution agreement in which the terms of the deal were kept secret from the victims, he likely violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. That Epstein was not “more fully” brought to justice in 2008 was, in other words, the direct result of Acosta’s deliberate and potentially criminal actions.

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Calls for Acosta to be removed from President Donald Trump’s administration have only grown since Epstein’s arrest. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former federal prosecutor and presidential candidate, has publicly called for Acosta to step down from his role as Labor Secretary, as has Sen. Elizabeth Warren. On the Senate floor on Tuesday, Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer demanded Acosta resign or be fired.

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Trump, meanwhile, told reporters today that he feels “very badly” for Acosta and explicitly distanced himself from Epstein.