Labor Secretary Acosta resigns amid Epstein deal scrutiny

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta holds a press conference at the US Department of Labor on July 10, 2019 in Washington,DC. - Democratic Party leaders called on July 9, 2019 for the resignation of President Donald Trump's secretary of labor over a secret plea deal he made a decade ago with a wealthy hedge fund manager accused of sexually abusing young girls. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, 50, was serving as a federal prosecutor in Florida when his office entered into the controversial plea agreement with financier Jeffrey Epstein. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down following criticism of his handling of a plea deal with a wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

Trump announced the news with Acosta by his side at the White House as Trump left on a trip to the Midwest.

Acosta says stepping aside was the right decision.

He was the U.S. attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 nonprosecution agreement with Epstein. Epstein avoided federal charges and served 13 months in jail.

Similar charges recently filed against Epstein by federal prosecutors in New York had put Acosta’s role in the 2008 deal under renewed scrutiny.

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