WASHINGTON (NBC News) – Embattled U.S. Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta is stepping down, officials announced Friday.
Acosta has been under fire for his handling of a sex crimes case against wealthy businessman Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago when Acosta was U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida.
New sex trafficking charges against Epstein cast scrutiny on a secret plea deal approved by Acosta that resulted in less than a year in jail.
“It would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that is 12 years old rather than about the amazing economy that we have right now,” Acosta said. “So I submitted my resignation to the President effective seven days from today.”
Trump told reporters that the decision for Acosta to quit “was him, not me” and praised him as a “tremendous talent.” The president added that he felt public opinion over the Epstein deal Acosta oversaw had changed.
“He made a deal that people were happy with, and then 12 years later were not happy with it,” Trump said.
The president said he’d tapped Deputy Labor Secretary Patrick Pizzella as the acting director of the agency.
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