Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Pence, stood up for Alex Acosta on Wednesday, perhaps offering a peek of the embattled labor secretary’s defense ahead of his press conference later in the day.
Mr. Acosta has come under fire for his role in securing a sweetheart plea deal for accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Then a U.S. attorney in Florida, Mr. Acosta tossed a 2008 federal indictment that could have put Mr. Epstein behind bars on child rape charges. Instead, Mr. Epstein copped to state prostitution charges, spending roughly a year in a county jail.
Since Mr. Epstein’s arrest on child sex trafficking charges over the weekend, calls for Mr. Acosta’s resignation.
Speaking with reporters at the White House, Mr. Short said critics of the labor secretary have it backwards.
“The reality is that the defense attorneys in the case actually tried to get Alex removed because he was such an aggressive prosecutor in this case,” he said. “And as you heard Alex say yesterday, we welcome the fact that there is additional evidence that can be prosecuted.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Acosta tweeted that he hopes new evidence and additional testimony will bring Mr. Epstein to justice.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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