July 10, 2019 / 6:48 PM / 9 days ago

Labor Secretary Acosta defends Epstein plea deal

U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta makes a statement on his involvement in a non-prosecution agreement with financier Jeffrey Epstein, who has now been charged with sex trafficking in underage girls, during a news conference at the Labor Department in Washington, U.S., July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday praised the new case against financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges and defended the role he played as a federal prosecutor in reaching a plea deal with Epstein that has been criticized as too lenient.

“Without the work of our prosecutors, Epstein would have gotten away with” a lesser state charge that would have let him avoid jail time, Acosta told reporters.

(Story refiled to remove extraneous quotation marks in paragraph two)

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Writing by Makini Brice; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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