Prosecutors: Jeffrey Epstein Paid $350,000 to ‘Silence’ Potential Witnesses

United States Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta holds a press conference at the Department of Labor. He was discussing his prosecution of Jeffrey Epstein in Florida in 2008. (RESTRICTION NO New York or New Jersey Newspapers or newspapers within a 75

Democratic U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee who has called on Acosta to testify on the Epstein matter, said in a statement: "Secretary Acosta's role in approving the extremely favourable deal for Jeffrey Epstein raises significant concerns about his failure to respect the rights of the victims, many of whom were children when they were assaulted".

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that his embattled labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, has resigned.

On Wednesday, Alex Acosta gave a dispassionate, legalistic defence of his handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case, more than a decade ago.

"My point here today is we have an unbelievable economy, and the focus needs to be on the economy", he said.

Why did Mr Acosta step down?

Epstein had a social circle that over the years has included Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

Democrats had called for him to quit over his handling of the Epstein case.

O'Brien, an executive editor at Bloomberg and author of the 2005 biographical book, Trumpnation: The Art of Being the Donald, appeared on MSNBC's "Deadline: Whitehouse" with Nicolle Wallace Saturday to discuss his experience shadowing Donald Trump while writing the book in the mid 2000's and how some of what he witnessed may play a role as the case against Epstein moves forward.

His lawyers have not yet commented on the payout claims.

Acosta said his resignation would be effective in seven days.

The arrest set in motion a chain of events that led to the resignation Friday of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who was the USA attorney in Miami during the earlier investigation of Epstein. "I didn't want anything to do with him", Mr Trump said about this former friend, as Mr Acosta stood at his side.

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He thinks Epstein's connections to powerful people allowed him to secure such an extraordinary deal on Acosta's watch.

In a 2002 magazine profile, he said: "I invest in people, be it politics or science".

Acosta said he wanted to avoid becoming a distraction and allow the administration to focus on the economy.

Officials have credited investigative journalism with helping reignite the investigation into Epstein, who resolved the early 2000s sex crimes investigation by pleading guilty to just two state charges and spending about 13 months in jail, with work release privileges. Acosta had argued that it was the only way to prevent an even lighter sentence, saying he would make the same decision again faced with the same situation.

"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world", he said.

Mr Acosta had been under pressure from Democrats to quit.

The details of the agreement overseen by Mr Acosta were first revealed in a Miami Herald investigation earlier this year, with the newspaper saying that Epstein had been given "the deal of a lifetime".

A federal judge has said Acosta violated federal law by keeping Epstein's victims in the dark about the plea arrangement, and the Justice Department has been investigating.

They said victims support his detention and they know of no victim expressing support for bail. The heads of the Interior, Justice, State and Health departments have also either been fired or resigned, among other top staff during Trump tenure so far.

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