60 senators, including eight Democrats, voted to confirm Alexander Acosta as labor secretary in April 2017.
INSIDER reached out to the 56 current senators who voted to confirm Acosta, to see how they are reacting to his involvement in a secret plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein during his tenure as a US attorney in Florida.
While Republican senator Benjamin Sasse expressed criticism over the handling of the Epstein case, he did not say whether he feels Acosta should resign.
Democrats have been vocal in their calls for Acosta to resign from his position as labor secretary.
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A survey of the 56 senators who confirmed embattled labor secretary Alex Acosta has found that only one of the fifty Republicans who voted in Acosta’s favor is openly critical of the former US attorney’s handling of Jeffrey Epstein’s prosecution.
Acosta is under fire for his involvement in a 2008 plea deal with the billionaire sex offender during his tenure as the US attorney in Miami, with prominent Democratic lawmakers now calling for Acosta to resign.
New sex trafficking charges filed in New York earlier this week against the 66-year-old financier have placed renewed scrutiny on the plea deal brokered by Acosta during his time as a US attorney in Florida. Despite being accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls and facing life in prison, Epstein ultimately pleaded guilty to less serious charges related to prostitution and spent just 13 months in jail, most of it in a work release program that allowed him leave the jail six days a week to work at his private home office. (Epstein also registered as a sex offender as part of the deal).
Epstein’s alleged victims were never notified of the secret deal, with a federal judge ruling in February that the Department of Justice violated the Crime Victims’ Rights Act by not disclosing to them the non-prosecution agreement with Epstein.
During a press conference on Wednesday to address his handling of the Epstein case, particularly the lenient plea deal, Acosta struck back against criticism and suggested the deal was better than nothing. He declined to apologize to victims or offer his regret, instead noting how “we live in a very different world. Today’s world treats victims very, very differently.”
Democratic leaders such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, have demanded that Acosta step down from his position. House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings also sent a letter to Acosta on Wednesday requesting that he testify about his decision to authorize the non-prosecution agreement for Epstein.
INSIDER reached out to all of the current senators who voted to confirm Acosta as Labor Secretary, despite his role in the Epstein deal. At the time that Acosta was confirmed, in April 2017, 60 senators, including eight Democrats, voted in favor of Acosta. Six senators responded back to our request for comment.
Republican criticism over the Justice Department’s handling of the Epstein …read more
Source:: Business Insider