Now Epstein (66) is in jail, charged with sex trafficking by federal prosecutors who allege he abused dozens of underage women in Palm Beach, Florida, and NY.
Wealthy financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arrested Saturday in NY on sex-trafficking charges involving allegations that date to the 2000s, according to law enforcement officials.
Acosta, a former federal prosecutor in south Florida, has been under scrutiny for his part in a secret 2008 plea deal that let Epstein avoid federal prosecution on charges that he molested teenage girls.
Democratic leaders issued a flurry of calls Tuesday for Acosta to step down. "I don't think we can say, take a case that is this old and fully know how it would play out today". And finally, what is completely unprecedented and that I've never seen is this very broad agreement that they would not prosecute any of Epstein's co-conspirators.
"We'll be looking at it very carefully", the USA leader said. Both men eventually left the cabinet.More news: Lamar Odom, Baron Davis among those deactivated by Big3
"In order to maintain and increase his supply of victims", prosecutors claimed, Epstein "also paid certain of his victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused". Trump said he had not spoken with Epstein in 15 years and had a "falling out" with him, but did not offer details of any dispute. Trump did not comment on what the disagreement was about.
He also received supportive words from President Trump, who called him a "great" labor secretary. And, he added, "you're talking about a long time ago".
Epstein is expected to appear Monday in Manhattan federal court.
"I was not a fan of his, that I can tell you". "It is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in Secretary Acosta's ability to lead the Department of Labour". Pelosi accused Acosta of engaging "in an unconscionable agreement" with Epstein "kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he was "inclined to defer to the president to make that decision".
Kaine said on Monday that Acosta "must go" as a result of the "sweetheart deal" he signed off on for Epstein.More news: Six foreign nationals killed as severe weather hits Greece
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to new charges in New York City.
Trump in 2002 told New York Magazine he'd known Epstein for 15 years, describing him as "a lot of fun to be with". Acosta had been the USA attorney in Florida who negotiated Epstein's deal with the hedge funder's crack legal team.
The well-connected Epstein, whose friends have included Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew, faced similar charges in Florida a decade ago but managed to escape a stiff sentence through the plea agreement with Acosta's office.
Following the charges, the financier was able to strike a plea deal that meant he would serve just 13 months in prison - where he was allowed to leave during the day to go to his office - after pleading guilty to two state prostitution charges in 2008. Epstein's voluminous personal address book - leaked by an Epstein employee in 2009 - contained 14 phone numbers for Trump, his wife, Melania, and members of his staff, according to media reports.
"A 10-year-old prosecution like this one by a different district is extremely rare and risky, even if the previous plea agreement is later viewed as a really bad one", said David O. Markus, a prominent Miami defense attorney not involved in the case. None of those people was mentioned in the indictment and prosecutors declined to comment on anyone said to be associated with Epstein.
"My Office is proud to stand up for these victims by bringing this indictment".More news: Amazon to spend $700 million to train 100,000 workers for digital age