The prosecutor who helped cut Jeffrey Epstein's ultra-lenient plea deal for sex crimes is now Trump's labor secretary

Alexander AcostaAlexander Acosta.Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Alexander Acosta while working as a US attorney in Florida helped to broker a 2008 plea deal with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing sex trafficking allegations. 
  • Under the terms of the deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to two charges of felony prostitution and spent 13 months in prison. He was released daily to spend time in his office. 
  • Epstein's alleged victims were not told about the deal, which a Florida judge in 2017 ruled illegal.
  • Epstein was arrested on Sunday on charges of sex trafficking, reigniting scrutiny of his past.
  • Acosta is facing calls to resign for his role in the deal. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta is facing renewed scrutiny for his role in offering Jeffrey Epstein a secret plea deal in 2008 that critics have denounced as too lenient following the financier's arrest on new charges Sunday.

According to a Miami Herald investigation, when Acosta was a US attorney for Southern Florida in 2008, he played a key role in brokering Epstein's dea.

It saw him plead guilty to two charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution, spending 13 months of an 18 month sentence in prison, and released during the day for six days a week so he could work in his office. 

Under the terms of the deal, Epstein was ordered to pay restitution to his victims, and register as a sex offender. 

The deal saw him avoid more serious federal charges, that could have resulted in a life sentence.  

On Sunday it was reported that Epstein was arrested on charges of sex trafficking minors in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005, law enforcement sources have told multiple media outlets.

Epstein's attorney Martin Weinberg declined to comment on the charges when contacted by The Daily Beast on Saturday night.

The new arrest prompted people to re-examine the record of Acosta, who was confirmed by the Senate in April 2017 as the US Secretary of Labor.

Acosta's critics allege that the plea deal amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist. Some have demanded his resignation.

The Department of Labor did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

According a series of investigations by the Miami Herald, Acosta played a personal role in brokering the deal, which was kept secret from Epstein's victims until had been approved. 

A Florida judge in February ruled that prosecutors broke the law when they agreed the deal without first notifying Epstein's victims. 

Jeff EpsteinBillionaire Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA on 9/8/04.Corbis via Getty Images

During his Senate confirmation hearings in March, Acosta was questioned about the plea deal by lawmakers, and faced accusations that Epstein was treated leniently.

Acosta claimed that a state grand jury recommended filing only one charge against Epstein, which would have seen him avoid jail time. He argued that under the terms of the plea deal Epstein was punished for his crimes. 

"At the end of the day Mr. Epstein went to jail," Acosta said, as reported by Politico. "Mr. Epstein was incarcerated, he registered as a sex offender, the world was put on notice that he was a sex offender, and the victims received restitution."

Epstein is due to appear in court in Manhattan later on Monday.
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