Miami Herald: Acosta should resign

The Miami Herald’s editorial board is calling 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 step down over his role in securing a plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein that let him serve just over a year in prison following a sex crimes conviction.

“He is an ethically compromised public servant who has failed to address his suspect actions in this case, but he continues to act on citizens’ behalf in the public domain,” the board wrote in an editorial published late Monday. “He has to go.”

Acosta, who was previously U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, approved a deal with Epstein that enabled him to serve 13 months in “custody with work release” after a 2008 conviction for soliciting prostitution from underage girls. The deal also let Epstein spend 16 hours a day outside of prison.

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Acosta has continued to stand by the deal as a necessary means to ensure Epstein served time.

“If Acosta, when he was U.S. attorney in Miami, had shown an ounce of sympathy for the vulnerable girls Epstein sexually exploited, they would have had a powerful voice on their side. They didn’t,” the Herald's editorial board wrote. “If Acosta had not shown himself to be ethically challenged 10 years ago, we wouldn’t be calling for his resignation as U.S. secretary of Labor now. But we are — again.”

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. Epstein pleaded not guilty to the charges on Monday.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman has said federal agents discovered nude photographs of apparently underage girls from his New York mansion.

“As evidence grows against Epstein, through both the Miami Herald’s pit-bull reporting and because a U.S. attorney is committed to seeing justice done, it is evidence, too, that not only did Acosta fail to get it right in 2008, but also that he didn’t care to,” the Herald's editors wrote.

A series of articles published by the newspaper in November detailed Epstein's case, chronicling allegations of how Epstein lured underage girls to his home in Palm Beach, Fla. and sexually abused them.

Berman said Monday during a news conference that officers were assisted by "some excellent investigative journalism." When asked about the Herald specifically, Berman said "we are certainly aware of that reporting."

Other Florida newspapers, including the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, have penned statements calling for Acosta’s resignation.

While top lawmakers including 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.) have urged Acosta to leave his post, 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.

— This report was updated at 7:56 a.m.