Acosta to hold news news conference to defend himself from Epstein criticism

Labor Secretary Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaAppeals court finds prosecutors' secret plea agreement with Epstein didn't break law Florida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington MORE will hold a news conference on Wednesday to address questions about his handling of a nonprosecution agreement he previously struck with multimillionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who is facing new federal sex-crimes charges involving minors.

The embattled Cabinet secretary plans to defend his handling of the Epstein case and will not offer his resignation, according to multiple media reports. The Labor Department said the news conference will take place at 2:30 p.m. 

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Acosta's 2008 plea deal with Epstein has come under renewed scrutiny after federal prosecutors in New York City charged Epstein on Monday with sex-trafficking charges, alleging he sexually abused young women and girls and forced his victims to recruit others.  

As a U.S. attorney in Miami, Acosta helped broker an agreement with Epstein in 2008 under which the financier pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitutes under Florida law, served just over one year in jail and was granted work-release privileges. The Miami Herald reported Acosta hid the agreement from Epstein’s victims, contrary to federal law.

Critics have said the agreement was too lenient, and top Democrats in Congress, as well as 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, have called on Acosta to step down.

Acosta on Tuesday defended the Epstein agreement on Twitter but acknowledged the new charges against the financier could “more fully bring him to justice.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMitt Romney invokes late father during the Civil Rights Movement amid protests White House wanted to deploy 10,000 troops to control protests: reports Zuckerberg, Chan-funded scientists pen 'letter of concern' over Trump, misinformation MORE also defended Acosta from the blowback, saying on Tuesday he feels “very badly” for the Labor secretary “because I’ve known him as being somebody who works so hard and has done such a good job.”

But the president also said that he would be looking at the case “very carefully.”