Jailed American financier Jeffrey Epstein made payments to two potential witnesses seeking to influence them in the child sex trafficking case against him late a year ago, prosecutors said late on Friday.
The deal wasn't just unusual.
The 2008 non-prosecution agreement allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution instead of facing federal charges.
The former USA attorney attempted to shift blame to state prosecutors and justify his decisions based on changing expectations in sex crimes cases. This is not normal; it is astounding.More news: NY power outage knocks out subways, businesses, elevators
He said that Acosta's troubles were not going away any time soon, and it wasn't like Acosta was the Attorney General or Secretary of State. "I didn't want anything to do with him", Mr Trump said about this former friend, as Mr Acosta stood at his side.
President Trump, who expressed support for Alex Acosta, said that Acosta made the decision himself to step down as secretary of Labor. "It would be selfish for me to stay in this position and continue talking about a case that is 12 years old rather than the awesome economy we have right now". Earlier this week, Mr Trump told reporters that he felt badly for his labour secretary, but added that he did not know him personally before hiring him.
With his departure, the number of temporary, "acting" Cabinet-level positions in the Trump administration now stands at four out of 11.
Pressed on whether he had any regrets, Acosta repeatedly said circumstances had changed since then.
He thinks Epstein's connections to powerful people allowed him to secure such an extraordinary deal on Acosta's watch.
Trump, who has previously described Epstein as a "terrific guy" who "likes lovely women", also attempted to distance himself from the financier, saying he was "not a fan" and that the two had a "falling out" years ago.More news: Ex-Red Sox slugger David Ortiz recovering from 3rd surgery
Epstein, 66, reached the plea deal in Florida in 2008 to secretly end a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed him behind bars for life. Whether or not all of those people were engaged in the disgusting violation of fundamental human rights this monster was engaged in, we can't say.
Acosta was confirmed in the Senate in early 2017 by a 60-38 vote, with all Republicans on board, along with eight Democrats and one independent.
"We now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight and we live in a very different world", he said. "Today's world treats victims very, very differently", he said.
Acosta gave a press conference Wednesday defending his 2008 actions, though a judge ruled in February that Acosta violated the law by neglecting to tell Epstein's victims about the deal and the Justice Department has opened an investigation into Acosta's handling of the case.
"I feel power and influence obviously influenced the scales of justice", said Kirk Blouin, town manager of Palm Beach, Fla., who prior to his post served 29 years in the Palm Beach police department.More news: United Kingdom police investigate Kim Darroch cables