Friday, July 12, 2019

The Acosta Of Failure

Trump regime Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has failed the one ironclad law of the Trump regime: he made Dear Leader look like an idiot, so now he's being forced out.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is stepping down from his post, just two days after he held a news conference to defend a plea deal that he brokered for wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein while serving as a U.S. attorney in Florida more than a decade ago.

Acosta, a 50-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer, came newly under fire for the lenient 2008 plea deal after Epstein was re-arrested July 6 in New York City and charged with sex trafficking. Under the earlier plea agreement, Epstein served only 13 months of an 18-month term and was permitted daily furloughs to go to the office. Epstein also was required to register as a sex offender and to pay restitution to his underage victims.

Things began to unravel for Acosta in November, when the Miami Herald published a lengthy reexamination of the case, and accelerated in February, when a district court judge ruled that the 2008 plea deal violated the Crime Victims Rights Act because Acosta never revealed the terms of the deal to Epstein's victims before it was finalized. Also in February, the Justice Department opened an investigation into whether Acosta’s prosecution team committed professional misconduct in its handling the Epstein case.

Key details of Acosta's plea agreement with Epstein were known to senators at the time Acosta was confirmed as labor secretary, though initially these seemed minor compared to domestic abuse allegations against Trump’s first pick for labor secretary, Andy Puzder. Acosta defended his actions at a congressional hearing this past April, saying he entered the case only after a state grand jury recommended that only one charge be filed against Epstein — a course of action that would have resulted in no jail time for Epstein, no restitution to victims, and no registration as a sex offender.

Acosta went down because his press conference defending his plea deal with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was an absolute disaster.

Acosta, who at the time served as the U.S attorney in south Florida, said in a news conference that his office intervened in the case after state prosecutors failed to secure a plea deal that would have resulted in jail time for Epstein and give justice to his victims.

"Times have changed, and coverage of this case has certainly changed," Acosta said, adding, "the facts are being overlooked."

“I wanted to help them, that is why we intervened, and that’s what the prosecutors of my office did," he said. "They insisted that he go to jail and put the world on notice that he was and is a sexual predator."

Acosta added: "Epstein's actions absolutely deserve a stiffer sentence."

Acosta secured a federal non-prosecution agreement with Epstein as part of the plea deal, which critics have blasted as too lenient.

"I think what they would find is that the office acted appropriately," Acosta said at the news conference when asked about the criticism. He also pushed back against an assessment that he violated the law by not informing Epstein's victims about the non-prosecution agreement.

Calling the case "complex," Acosta argued that he and the other federal prosecutors were following Justice Department policy. They waited until they secured the plea deal with a provision that would require Epstein to pay restitution to his victims before notifying them, he said, in case the deal fell apart and the defense tried to use any payments as a way to undermine the victims' credibility.

The labor secretary's role in the administration has come under scrutiny after Epstein, 66, was arrested over the weekend and charged Monday with sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida from at least 2002 through 2005. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

I was convinced Acosta was going to survive until this press conference.  Trump used his usual "We'll see" hedge afterwards, indicating that Acosta didn't discharge his only actual duty, insulating Trump from the Epstein fallout.  This morning, Trump fired Acosta.  Even Republicans were glad to see Acosta gone.

Of course, the real problem is that Acosta was confirmed by these same Republicans in the first place.

Bonus StupidiNews:  Acosta's replacement, Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella, is a friend of disgraced lobbyist and criminal Jack Abramoff and a child labor "enthusiast".

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