Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta continued to defend himself amid calls for his resignation on Wednesday, claiming that “today’s world treats victims very, very differently,” while explaining his non-prosecution agreement with Jeffrey Epstein in 2o07.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Acosta was asked whether he would make the same deal with lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who was recently arrested on sex trafficking charges, that was made a decade ago.
In response, Acosta implied that victims are treated differently now then they were in 2008, when the plea deal with Epstein was struck.
“So these questions are always very difficult, because we now have 12 years of knowledge and hindsight, and we live in a very different world,” Acosta said. “Today’s world treats victims very, very differently. Today’s world does not allow some of the victim shaming that could’ve took place at trial 12 years ago. Today’s world understands that when interviewing victims when eliciting testimony, that testimony can sometimes can be sometimes contradictory, that memories are difficult. And so, I don’t think we can say… take a case that is this old and fully know how it’ll play out today.”
Famously, Acosta did not let any of Epstein’s victims see the plea before entering into it.
When pressed that some of Epstein’s victims felt that he “failed them,” Acosta continued:
“I understand what the victims say, and I’m not here to try and say that I can stand in their shoes or that I can address their concerns. I’m here to say we did what we did because we wanted see Epstein go to jail. He needed to go to jail. He needed to go to jail. And that was the focus.”
In the deal, Epstein was given a year sentence but was allowed work release outside of the jail for up to 16 hours a day
Acosta: “Today’s world treats victims very, very differently. Today’s world understands that when interviewing victims, that testimony can be sometimes contradictory, that memories are difficult.”
“We did what we did because we wanted to see Epstein go to jail” pic.twitter.com/lMgf7YauaQ
— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) July 10, 2019
Acosta’s response not met well with many people online.
Kaitlin from CNN: "Would you make the same decision today?"
Acosta: Today's world treats victims very very differently.
What a POS.
— Laffy (@GottaLaff) July 10, 2019
.@SecretaryAcosta “These questions are always very difficult… Today’s world treats victims very, very differently.”
This happened in 2008, just 11 years ago. He is speaking like the case was brought in the 1950’s. #AcostaResign
— GOPwned (@GOPwned) July 10, 2019
"Today's world treats victims very, very differently," Acosta says, with zero self-awareness as to the fact that he himself could have helped fix this problem 10 years ago. Just zero responsibility taken here!
— Jerry Iannelli (@jerryiannelli) July 10, 2019
President Donald Trump’s labor secretary has faced calls for his resignation over his involvement in the deal with Epstein in 2007. Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges earlier this week after he was arrested by authorities in New York.