On March 21st, Senator Kevin Cramer will host Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta at three roundtable events in North Dakota. The roundtables, closed to the press, are in Fargo and Bismarck on workforce development, association health plans, and tribal colleges. Important topics, no doubt. Acosta was invited here by Cramer. On the national stage, Acosta is facing severe criticism for his past role in cutting a covert, illegal plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein who is a multimillionaire accused of sexually abusing dozens of teenage girls.
A lot of reporting in the Miami Herald and Washington Post have outlined the charges, the plea deal, and Acosta’s alleged involvement in the Epstein case. The details being revealed are troubling. The question remains why it appears Epstein was given a lenient sentence.
“Instead of being prosecuted for federal child sex trafficking crimes that could have sent him to prison for life, Epstein was inexplicably given federal immunity under an unusual agreement approved by then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta.” according to reporter Julie Brown of the Miami Herald. “Last month, a federal judge ruled that Acosta and other federal prosecutors involved in the case broke the law by failing to inform Epstein’s victims about the plea, in violation of the Crime Victim’s Right Act.”
As more details come forward, some Congressional Democrats are calling for the resignation of Acosta from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department “oversees investigations into sex trafficking and workplace abuses.” President Trump has stated he has complete confidence in Acosta. Today, he tours North Dakota.
“I invited Secretary Acosta to come to North Dakota during our meeting in January, and I’m glad to announce we are making it happen.” Senator Cramer stated in a March 14th media advisory email. Cramer’s announcement came weeks after a judge ruled that federal prosecutors, including Acosta, “violated the law when they did not tell victims the government had struck a deal not to prosecute Jeffrey Epstein.”
I wonder if the severe criticism of Acosta gave Cramer pause before moving forward with the roundtables. Though the roundtables are closed to the press, a continuation of a troubling trend, there are press conferences in Fargo and Bismarck. Perhaps the question could be asked.