Klobuchar says Acosta should step down over Epstein case

Klobuchar says Acosta should step down over Epstein case
© Greg Nash

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden: All-white debate not representative of party, but 'you can't dictate' nominee Delaney to DNC: Open second debate stage for candidates who qualified for past events There's a lot to like about the Senate privacy bill, if it's not watered down MORE (D-Minn.) said Tuesday that 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 should step down over a 2008 plea deal involving financier Jeffrey Epstein.

"Since when do underage girl sex ring traffickers get to go to their office every day while they serve their time? The victims should have had a say. That’s what the law says," Klobuchar said in a statement.

"I didn’t vote for former Florida U.S. Attorney Acosta to begin with and he should step down," she added. 

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Klobuchar, who is running for her party's 2020 presidential nomination, is one of a growing number of Democrats calling for Acosta to resign over the plea deal, though 2020 contenders have largely remained silent so far.

Epstein, 66, was arrested over the weekend and is expected to appear in federal court in New York soon. Federal prosecutors unsealed new sex trafficking charges against Epstein on Monday, alleging abuse of dozens of female minors. He has denied all charges.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) is expected to call for Acosta to resign on Tuesday morning. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) tweeted on Monday night that the Labor secretary "must step down." 

Acosta was confirmed in a 60-38 vote for the Labor Department post, including winning the support of nine Democratic senators.

But he's facing intense scrutiny, including calls for him to resign, after federal prosecutors in New York unsealed the new sex trafficking charges. 

The charges are being contrasted to a 2008 plea deal that Acosta, then a U.S. attorney in Florida, approved with Epstein that enabled him to serve 13 months in “custody with work release."  

Acosta has defended the 2008 plea deal, which took place when he was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, arguing that it ensured Epstein serve jail time, register as a sex offender and pay damages to victims.