House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta

House Democrats request briefing on Epstein, Acosta
© Greg Nash

House Democrats on Thursday called on the Department of Justice for a briefing on Labor Secretary Alexander AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaOn The Money: Trump slams relief bill, calls on Congress to increase stimulus money | Biden faces new critical deadlines after relief package | Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Federal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority MORE’s role in securing a plea deal for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein.

In a letter to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, a dozen Democrats — including House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerBiden backs effort to include immigration in budget package Biden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Britney Spears's new attorney files motion to remove her dad as conservator MORE (N.Y.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuCourt finds Democratic donor Ed Buck guilty of all charges in connection to two men's deaths Press: Give those unemployed writers a job! Post-Trump, Biden seeks to restore US relations with Holy See MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassScott: 'There is hope' for police reform bill Biden: Republicans who say Democrats want to defund the police are lying Omar leads lawmakers in calling for US envoy to combat Islamophobia MORE (Calif.) — requested a briefing on “any related commission of professional misconduct” by Acosta, who was a U.S. attorney during the 2008 plea deal.

“We are abhorred by reports of Mr. Epstein’s repeated and longstanding sexual abuse of young girls,” the letter reads. “This despicable behavior constituted clear criminal activity that could have resulted in a lengthy sentence for Mr. Epstein had charges been vigorously pursued against him at the time."

“We believe it is of paramount importance that we learn the basis and rationale for the unusual plea deal,” the letter continues, adding that lawmakers have “serious misgivings about Secretary Acosta’s handling of the case and whether the Department fairly administered justice.”

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Lawmakers requested a briefing and “any relevant documents” by July 24, the letter reads.

After Epstein was convicted of sex crimes, Acosta approved the deal 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 and allowed him to avoid federal prosecution on allegations he sexually abused young girls and enticed his victims to recruit others.

Acosta continues to face calls from top Democrats for his resignation or for President TrumpDonald TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE to fire him from his Cabinet.

Acosta has routinely defended the deal, telling reporters Wednesday that “we believe that we proceeded appropriately” and adding that “times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed.”

The Labor secretary has also insisted his relationship with Trump stays strong. Trump said Tuesday that Acosta has done a “very good” job and that he feels “very badly” for him, but that he would be looking at the Epstein case “very closely.”