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 AcostaTrump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick Our farmers need a better labor program Three more Epstein accusers sue estate 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 NadlerGraham promises Kavanaugh will not be impeached over 'scurrilous' allegations Judiciary Committee chairman Nadler dismisses Kavanaugh impeachment calls Nadler: Trump impeachment needed 'to vindicate the Constitution' MORE (N.Y.), Rep. Ted LieuTed W. LieuTed Lieu congratulates first Asian American cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' Ocasio-Cortez renews impeachment call amid probe involving Trump's Scotland property Oversight panel investigating Air Force crew's stop at Trump property in Scotland MORE (Calif.) and Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassCBC marks 400th anniversary of slaves' arrival in US Senate could protect girls from sexual exploitation — but will it? King incites furor with abortion, rape and incest remarks 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 TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth 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.”