Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee want Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to appear before the panel to explain his role in a plea deal that put sex offender Jefferey Epstein behind bars for only 13 months.
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Acosta was the US attorney in Miami in 2008 when he allowed the wealthy financier to plead guilty to lesser state charges in exchange for the feds dropping their charges.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, the chair of the committee, sent a letter to Acosta on Wednesday urging him to testify at a public hearing on July 23.
”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,” Cummings wrote in the letter.
Cummings, a Maryland Democrat, also said the panel intends to question him about a federal judge’s ruling that Acosta violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act when he didn’t inform Epstein’s victims that he was negotiating the non-prosecution agreement.
Under the deal, Epstein served 13 months in the Palm Beach County Jail but was allowed out for six days so he would work out of his private office.
In a news conference on Wednesday, Acosta defended his decision to give Epstein a sweetheart plea deal because state prosecutors were prepared to allow him go free.
“There is a value to a short guilty plea because letting him walk – letting what the state attorney was ready to do go forward - would have been absolutely awful,” he said at the Labor Department.