The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday demanded that embattled Labor Secretary Alex Acosta appear before it to explain the decade-old plea deal he offered accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
Committee Chairman Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, sent a letter requesting Mr. Acosta testify at a public hearing on July 23. The call to hear from Mr. Acosta comes just days after Mr. Epstein pleaded not guilty to child sex trafficking charges in New York.
“Your testimony is even more critical now that federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York unsealed a new indictment earlier this week outlining a host of additional charges against Mr. Epstein, including luring dozens of teenage girls to his homes in New York City and Palm Beach, Florida, and paying them to engage in sexual activity with him,” Mr. Cummings wrote in the latter, which was co-authored by committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Democrat.
Mr. Cummings said the hearing will examine Mr. Acosta’s role in brokering a 2008 plea deal that resulted in Mr. Epstein serving just 13 months behind bars when he was staring down life in prison. A federal judge later ruled the plea deal was illegal because it was shielded from Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Raskin and other House Democrats requested a briefing from the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which has been probing Mr. Acosta’s handling of the 2008 deal.