Pelosi calls for Acosta to step down over Epstein case

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiLouisiana governor wins re-election Dynamic scoring: Forward-thinking budgeting practices to grow our economy Pelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' MORE (D-Calif.) late Monday called for Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by National Association of Manufacturers — Whistleblower complaint roils Washington On The Money: Senate confirms Scalia as Labor chief | Bill with B in wall funding advanced over Democrats' objections | Lawyers reach deal to delay enforcement of NY tax return subpoena Sanders calls Eugene Scalia's Labor Dept. confirmation 'obscene' MORE to resign for his “unconscionable agreement” in securing a plea deal for Jeffrey Epstein that enabled the financier to serve just over a year in prison following a sex crimes conviction.

“@SecretaryAcosta must step down,” Pelosi tweeted. “As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice. This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet.”

Acosta, a U.S. attorney at the time of Epstein’s 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from underaged girls, approved the deal with Epstein that enabled him to serve 13 months in “custody with work release." The deal also let Epstein spend 16 hours a day outside of prison.

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Acosta has routinely defended the deal as necessary to ensure that Epstein served time behind bars.

Epstein was arrested in New Jersey on Saturday on sex trafficking charges, and prosecutors allege he sexually abused dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman has said federal agents discovered nude photographs of apparently underage girls from his New York mansion.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.

Senate Republicans have declined to criticize the Labor secretary or echo calls for him to resign or be fired by President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Official testifies that Bolton had 'one-on-one meeting' with Trump over Ukraine aid Louisiana governor wins re-election MORE, instead noting that the 2008 plea deal between Acosta and Epstein was vetted as part of Acosta's 2017 hearing for his nomination to Trump's Cabinet.