WASHINGTON (NBC News) – U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta defended Wednesday his role in a lenient plea deal granted to billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 when Acosta was a U.S. Attorney.
The deal ended an investigation into alleged sexual abuse and sex trafficking of young girls, allowing Epstein to plead guilty to prostitution charges. He served roughly a year in county jail and was required to register as a sex offender upon release.
“Times have changed and coverage of this case has certainly changed,” Acosta said, adding, “the facts are being overlooked.”
Acosta’s role in the deal has come under scrutiny after new charges were filed against Epstein. He was arrested over the weekend on charges of sex trafficking of minors. Investigators say hundreds of illegal photos of nude and partially nude underage girls were found in his home during a recent raid. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
President Trump, who has his own ties to Epstein, has defended Acosta’s work as labor secretary but said Tuesday he’s reviewing his handling of the 2008 case.
“We’ll be looking at that very carefully,” Mr. Trump said.