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 AcostaFlorida sheriff ends work release program criticized over Jeffery Epstein The 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 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 NadlerTrump adviser presses House investigators to make Bezos testify Nadler demands answers from Barr on 'new channel' for receiving Ukraine info from Giuliani Trump predicts Ocasio-Cortez will launch primary bid against Schumer MORE (N.Y.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuDemocrats to plow ahead with Trump probes post-acquittal Trump Jr. dismisses 'likelihood' of Pelosi praying for Trump with Satan comparison Ted Lieu says he's praying for Trump after National Prayer Breakfast comments MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassHarris, Castro introduce resolution condemning Trump aide Stephen Miller Senior black Democrats urge party chairman to take responsibility for Iowa Black News Channel, first 24-7 news network created 'by black people, for black people' launches in US 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 John TrumpSchiff blasts Trump for making 'false claims' about Russia intel: 'You've betrayed America. Again.' Poll: Sanders leads 2020 Democratic field with 28 percent, followed by Warren and Biden More than 6 in 10 expect Trump to be reelected: poll 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.”