Washington (AP) - In the affair of abuse allegations against the entrepreneur Jeffrey Epstein, US Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigns from his post. This was announced by President Donald Trump in the presence of Acosta.
Trump said it was the minister's decision, not his. He himself believes that resignation is unnecessary. Acosta called him on Friday morning and informed him of the move. The resignation should take effect in seven days.
Acosta has come under increasing pressure in recent days. Background is a controversial deal more than ten years ago, the entrepreneur Jeffrey Epstein saved a lawsuit in federal court - and the Acosta as then prosecutor in Florida agreed. As late as Wednesday, however, the minister had resisted Democrats' demands for resignation and defended his actions as a prosecutor in Florida.
Meanwhile, the New York prosecutor has raised new charges against Epstein. She accuses him of abusing dozens of minor girls. The 66-year-old had built an illegal sex trade ring in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, according to the indictment, which became public on Monday. Some of the girls were only 14 years old and had been lured into large sums of money and tempted to bring more girls. The entrepreneur pleaded not guilty.
Epstein escaped federal trial in 2008 for allegations of abuse by entering into an agreement with the state prosecutor at federal level. This deal saved him from further investigation. At that time, the heavy-handed businessman pleaded guilty to serving clients with underage prostitutes, and was serving a 13-month prison sentence, sometimes in relaxed conditions. In return, he came without trial before a federal court.
Because Acosta approved this procedure as a prosecutor in Florida, influential US Democrats recently called for his resignation as Labor Minister. They criticize, with the deal was Epstein too mild and escaped a just punishment.
Acosta said on Friday it was the right thing to resign. "It would be selfish of me to remain in this office." The topic Epstein distracts from the successes of the Ministry of Labor.
After the resignation of the minister, the office is now first provisionally led by Acosta's previous Deputy Patrick Pizzella, as Trump announced. In the two-and-a-half-year term of the Republican, there have already been numerous resignations and layoffs.