The hashtag “#AcostaResign” was trending on Twitter Monday following the news that financier Jeffrey Epstein had been indicted on federal charges of child sex trafficking.
Per CNN, after Epstein was arrested over the weekend, a federal indictment against him was unsealed on Monday morning by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Epstein is accused of running a sex-trafficking enterprise in the early 2000s when he allegedly abused numerous underaged girls.
“Epstein allegedly worked with several employees and associates to ensure that he had a steady supply of minor victims to abuse, and paid several of those victims themselves to recruit other underage girls to engage in similar sex acts for money,” the press release by the U.S. attorney’s office stated. In raiding Epstein’s Manhattan home, authorities discovered nude photos of underaged women.
As for Acosta, the hashtag refers to Alex Acosta, who is currently the United States Secretary of Labor, having been nominated by President Trump in 2017 and confirmed by the Senate that year. Starting in 2005, in George W. Bush’s second term as president, Acosta served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
According to reporting by The Miami Herald that was cited by prosecutors in announcing the charges, Epstein’s accusers are looking for answers about Acosta’s actions in dealing with a previous Epstein case.
During his time as U.S. attorney, Acosta approved a rare non-prosecution agreement with Epstein following an investigation that Epstein had engaged in similar crimes to the ones he has now been indicted for in New York.
Per The Herald, the agreement “allowed Epstein to escape federal sex trafficking charges, even though evidence showed that Epstein had molested more than three dozen girls at his Palm Beach mansion in the 1990s and early 2000s.” In addition, the deal was kept secret from Epstein’s victims and allowed him “work release,” in which he was allowed to spend most days in his office during his sentence.
On the #AcostaResign hashtag, Twitter users are calling for the cabinet member to depart, while also including lists of Senators who voted for his confirmation as labor secretary. Others have pointed out that human trafficking laws are among the things falling under the purview of the Department of Labor.
The Epstein story, in addition to the horrific accusations against him, has drawn additional attention due to the financier’s famous and powerful friends. Epstein has known ties to both President Trump and President Bill Clinton.