Embattled Labor Secretary Alex Acosta held a press conference yesterday. He began by praising New York prosecutors who just brought new charges against sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and went on to try to clarify his actions and decision making in the 2008 prosecution of Epstein in Florida that led to what many now call a “sweetheart” deal for Epstein.
Acosta eventually took questions from the press, and his answers ranged from evasive to outright lies. Acosta was asked about his solo off-site meetings with Epstein’s lawyers and he answered that they occurred after a deal had already been reached. But a Florida prosecutor later yesterday claimed that negotiations were ongoing at that point and that in the secret meeting Acosta acquiesced to the defense team to keep the Epstein settlement from the victims, a fact later corroborated in a letter sent by the defense team. Acosta also gave no satisfactory reason for giving Epstein’s co-conspirators immunity from prosecution in the case. A Florida State Attorney also disclosed last night that a 53-page federal indictment of Epstein was mysteriously “abandoned after secret negotiations between Mr. Epstein’s lawyers and Mr. Acosta.” Acosta also implied that because the state of Florida was in charge of the case he couldn’t step in and start his own investigation. But this was also entirely false. Acosta had tremendous discretion to start a federal investigation if he wanted to.
Why did Acosta negotiate with Epstein’s defense team in secret? Why did Acosta grant immunity to others involved in Epstein’s crimes? Why did Acosta abandon an indictment against Epstein? Why did Acosta fail to start a Federal investigation?
Acosta did nothing to dispel a sense that the rich and powerful receive different justice than the rest of us, and his decisions in this case remain troublingly unethical and inexplicable.
On a different note, it was reported yesterday in Time Magazine that the giant Thwaites glacier, part of the western ice sheet of Antarctica, is becoming increasingly unstable. The glacier is the size of Florida and if it were to collapse and melt would raise sea levels by around two feet. And of course, the surrounding ice would become concurrently less stable and the entire Antarctica ice system would continue melting at a faster pace. Here’s terrifying reporting from Jasmine Aquilera:
Finally, it was reported yesterday that in some battleground states, and especially states with gubernatorial elections in 2020, more people are registering as Republicans than Democrats.
This should be a wake-up call to all activists that 2020 is going to a long, bitter fight for the White House, and probably for NY-19 as well. We can’t take anything for granted and, as exhausting as the Trump debacle has been, we can’t rest until we vote Trump and his corrupt party out of power. Voter registration is critical here in Dutchess and NY-19.
Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”