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 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’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 NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE (N.Y.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuWyden urges FCC to secure 5G networks against cyber threats Democrat hits White House spokeswoman after Trump appointee changes testimony PETA asks DOJ to stop conducting training that harms animals MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassHillicon Valley: Google buying Fitbit for .1B | US launches national security review of TikTok | Twitter shakes up fight over political ads | Dems push committee on 'revenge porn' law Democratic lawmakers call on Judiciary Committee to advance 'revenge porn' law Lawmakers come together to honor Cummings: 'One of the greats in our country's history' 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 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 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.”