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February 2019, Week 4

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 		 [ A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday that U.S. Labor Secretary
Alexander Acosta committed a crime in 2007 ] [https://portside.org/] 

 PORTSIDE LABOR 

 CALLS INCREASE FOR TRUMP LABOR SEC. ALEXANDER ACOSTA TO RESIGN  
[https://portside.org/2019-02-24/calls-increase-trump-labor-sec-alexander-acosta-resign]


 

 Julia Conley 
 February 22, 2019
In These Times
[http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/21756/trump_labor_secretary_alexander_resign_scandal]


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 _ A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday that U.S. Labor Secretary
Alexander Acosta committed a crime in 2007 _ 

 Trump Labor Sec. Alexander Acosta., (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) 

 

A U.S. District judge ruled Thursday that U.S. Labor Secretary
Alexander Acosta committed a crime in 2007 when, as a U.S. prosecutor
at the time, he secretly gave a lenient plea deal to a
politically-connected billionaire accused of sex trafficking underage
girls.

In a case brought by victims of billionaire and Trump associate
Jeffrey Epstein, Judge Kenneth Marra found
[https://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article226577419.html] that
Acosta and other federal prosecutors violated the Crime Victims'
Rights Act by brokering a plea deal with Epstein, 
[https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/11/29/demands-trump-labor-secretary-resign-after-jaw-dropping-and-enraging-story-about]allowing
him to serve only 13 months in a county jail for his crimes, and then
sealing the agreement.

The ruling came nearly three months after the _Miami
Herald_'s explosive report 
[https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/article220097825.html]on the
plea deal, which prompted the Justice Department to begin an
investigation into the prosecutors' conduct.

Marra's decision led to renewed calls for Acosta—who was appointed
by President Donald Trump and who as head of the Labor Department is
responsible for combating sex trafficking—to resign.

By sealing Epstein's plea agreement, Acosta stole from more than 30 of
Epstein's victims—some of whom were as young as 13 when they were
recruited by his paid employees and then coerced into sex acts by
him—the chance to attend Epstein's sentencing and demand a harsher
punishment.

"While the government spent untold hours negotiating the terms and
implications of the [agreement] with Epstein's attorneys, scant
information was shared with victims," Marra found.

"The government-aligned themselves with Epstein, working against his
victims, for 11 years," Brad Edwards, the attorney representing the
women who survived Epstein's abuse, told the _Herald._ "Yes, this is
a huge victory, but to make his victims suffer for 11 years, this
should not have happened. Instead of admitting what they did, and
doing the right thing, they spent 11 years fighting these girls."

Epstein's victims and the U.S. government now have 15 days to come to
a resolution following Marra's ruling.

_This piece first appeared at_ Common Dreams
[https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/02/21/time-acosta-resign-judge-rules-labor-secretarys-plea-deal-billionaire-sex-offender].

JULIA CONLEY [http://inthesetimes.com/community/profile/323030/]

Julia Conley is a Maine-based staff writer for ,_Common Dreams_.

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