Miami Herald reporter who broke Epstein plea deal story pushes back on Acosta comments

The Miami Herald reporter who broke the news of Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump taps Scalia's son as Labor secretary pick The Hill's Morning Report - Trump seizes House impeachment vote to rally GOP MORE’s plea agreement with financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein called out inaccuracies in Acosta’s public statement that he made Wednesday on the matter.

“He managed to present it in a way that sounds true if you really don’t read the court records and understand the sequence of events,” the Herald’s Julie K. Brown said in an appearance on CNN on Wednesday evening.

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Brown highlighted two specific claims Acosta made in his public statement, first pushing back on the claim that the prosecution had inadequate evidence against Epstein at the time.

“He had 36 girls who all told the same story, which is amazing,” Brown said. “I talked to only a handful of them and they all said what the MO [modus operandi] was.”

Additionally, Brown said, in cases where witnesses may be afraid to testify, “It is the job of the prosecutors to make them feel secure enough to testify.”

Brown also called out the “secrecy” involved in the deal with Epstein.

“If this was such a great deal, and this was the best they could do, why didn’t they tell the victims? Why didn’t they answer the victims’ phone calls?” she said. “The part about not informing the victims wasn’t written in that agreement.”

Acosta has faced calls to resign from congressional Democrats this week after Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges over the weekend. As a U.S. attorney in 2008, Acosta approved a plea deal that allowed Epstein to serve 13 months in prison while having work release.

Acosta defended his handling of the case on Wednesday, saying, “We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail.”

A former Palm Beach County state’s attorney has also pushed back on Acosta’s account of the deal, saying Acosta’s office prepared a 53-page federal indictment that it never filed.