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Donald Trump defends Alex Acosta as fallout from Jeffrey Epstein case spreads

Donald Trump defends Alex Acosta as fallout from Jeffrey Epstein case spreadsDonald Trump’s labour secretary is facing mounting calls to resign over his role in the decade-long saga of accused sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, as powerful men across America scrambled to distance themselves from the financier. Alex Acosta was the US attorney for Southern Florida when, in 2008, he agreed to a non-prosecution deal aggressively pushed by Epstein’s high-powered legal team. Epstein, 66, was accused of procuring girls as young as 14 to visit his mansion, and paying them to perform massages, which then turned into sexual acts. Epstein pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting prostitution, paid a fine, registered as a sexual predator and served 13 months of an 18-month sentence. Much of the sentence was spent at Epstein’s Palm Beach office, under a work-release programme. No federal charges were filed. Epstein’s arrest on Saturday, and his appearance in court in New York on Monday, have shone an uncomfortable spotlight on Mr Acosta’s role in the story. Jeffrey Epstein in court in Manhattan on Monday, with his lawyers Martin Weinberg, left, and Marc Fernich. He pleaded not guilty On Tuesday Mr Trump praised his labour secretary’s record in the White House, and defended the embattled Cabinet member – one of the few who has been in his role from the beginning. "What happened with respect to 12 or 13 years ago – you know, if you go back and look at everybody's decisions, I would think you would probably find they wish they did it in a different way,” said Mr Trump. “I think there were a lot of people in that position not just him. We'll have to look very carefully but it was a decision made I think not by him but a lot of people." Mr Acosta insists that his deal ensured that Epstein faced a degree of punishment. "The crimes committed by Epstein are horrific, and I am pleased that NY prosecutors are moving forward with a case based on new evidence," tweeted Mr Acosta. "With the evidence available more than a decade ago, federal prosecutors insisted that Epstein go to jail, register as a sex offender and put the world on notice that he was a sexual predator," he continued. "Now that new evidence and additional testimony is available, the NY prosecution offers an important opportunity to more fully bring him to justice." Kellyanne Conway, Mr Trump’s senior advisor, also sprang to his defence, saying: “I hope we’re all paying attention to who the true perpetrator is here.” But the Democrats have seized on Mr Acosta’s involvement, and both Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, and Chuck Schumer, leader of the Senate, have called for him to resign. They claim that the 2008 deal was made without out informing Epstein’s accusers – a legal requirement. A series of articles in the Miami Herald in November led to court challenges to the deal Mr Acosta brokered. “@SecretaryAcosta must step down,” said Mrs Pelosi. “As US Attorney, he engaged in an unconscionable agreement w/ Jeffrey Epstein kept secret from courageous, young victims preventing them from seeking justice. This was known by @POTUS when he appointed him to the cabinet. AcostaResign” Mr Schumer went further, demanding that Mr Trump account for his own friendship with Epstein. In 2002 Mr Trump was asked about Epstein for a New York magazine profile, and was reported as responding: “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.” Mr Schumer said: “The president needs to answer for his relationship with Epstein. Epstein was reportedly a regular at the Mar-a-Lago club. ‘I don’t recall is not an acceptable answer in this case’, particularly given that Mr Trump appointed Mr Acosta.” Geoffrey Berman, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, speaks during a news conference about the arrest of Epstein Mr Trump is attempting to distance himself from Epstein, saying on Tuesday: "I knew him like everyone in Palm Beach knew him. I had a falling out with him a long time ago, maybe 15 years ago. I was not a fan of his I can tell you.” Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, has said Mr Trump had “no relationship” with Epstein. Mrs Conway insisted that Mr Trump was unaware of the scandal and called the allegations “disgusting”. “I talked to the president this morning,” she said. “He hasn't talked or had contact with Epstein in years and years and years — and over a decade at least, he said. “And he, like everyone else, sees these charges, the description of these charges against Epstein, as completely unconscionable and obviously criminal. Disgusting, really.” Epstein’s address book, published by the website Gawker in 2015, listed Mr Trump’s contact information alongside that of hundreds of other people, including former president Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew. On Monday night Mr Clinton issued a statement saying he had taken four trips on the billionaire’s private plane, and made “one brief visit” to Epstein’s home in New York – alongside a “staff member and his security detail” – in 2002. Jeffrey Epstein's home in the Upper East Side of New York The $ 56 million (£45m) property, one of the largest private homes in Manhattan, featured photos of Woody Allen and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia on the wall, besides photos of Epstein with Mr Clinton. The two men also met at Clinton’s Harlem office “around the same time” as the apartment visit, the statement said. "President Clinton knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York," said Angel Ureña, Mr Clinton’s spokesman. The statement did not mention that a former charity of Epstein’s, the C.O.U.Q. Foundation, donated $ 25,000 to Bill and Hillary Clinton’s charity in 2006 and was recently listed among past and present donors on the Clinton Foundation’s website.



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The Latest: Alex Jones sanctioned in Sandy Hook lawsuit

The Latest: Alex Jones sanctioned in Sandy Hook lawsuitA Connecticut judge has imposed sanctions on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for an outburst on his web show against a lawyer for relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook School shooting. Judge Barbara Bellis on Tuesday ordered the Infowars host to pay some of the relatives’ legal fees and prohibited him from filing motions to dismiss their defamation lawsuit against him. The families of several of the 20 children and six educators killed in the 2012 shooting are suing Jones, Infowars and others for promoting a theory that the massacre was a hoax.



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Alex Jones Faces Court Action After Threatening Sandy Hook Lawyer

Alex Jones Faces Court Action After Threatening Sandy Hook LawyerAndrew Harrer/Bloomberg via GettyA Connecticut judge could impose penalties on InfoWars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Tuesday, after Jones aired a show where he punched a picture of an attorney representing Sandy Hook families and called the lawyer a “pimp.”In a motion filed Monday in Connecticut, attorneys for the Sandy Hook families asked the court to review Friday’s episode of InfoWars. In that show, Jones raged at attorney Chris Mattei, who’s representing Sandy Hook families suing Jones for saying the 2012 elementary school massacre never happened.While sitting next to his own attorney, Norm Pattis, Jones accused Mattei without evidence of planting child porn on InfoWars’s servers.“Total war!” Jones said. “You want it, you got it! I’m not into kids like your Democratic Party, you cocksuckers! So get ready!”Alex Jones Offers $ 1M Reward After Alleged ‘Malware’ Attack That He Says Planted Child Porn on His ServersWhile producing emails during the lawsuit’s discovery process, InfoWars accidentally handed over child pornography that had been emailed to the company by one or more anonymous people. The emails were then sent to a company handling document review for the Sandy Hook attorneys, the latest error in a discovery process that InfoWars and Jones have been frequently accused of hindering.  After receiving the images, the Sandy Hook attorneys contacted the FBI, who took over the document review process. In their motion, the attorneys say InfoWars could have avoided forwarding the emails if they had conducted “even minimal due diligence.” “They transmitted images to the plaintiffs that if they were knowingly possessed is a serious federal crime,” the attorneys say in the motion. In a statement, Pattis said InfoWars employees hadn’t opened the emails when they were originally received. “I spoke to federal prosecutors last week,” Pattis said. “They report that there is no indication anyone at InfoWars knowingly possessed child pornography. The items were embedded in emails sent to folks at InfoWars without ever having been opened.”On his Friday show, Jones concocted a conspiracy theory that Mattei had planted the child porn himself in an attempt to discredit InfoWars. Jones fumed at Mattei, calling him a “white-shoe boy that thinks he owns America.” Twitter Permanently Bans Alex Jones and InfowarsPattis appeared uncomfortable as Jones raged at the plaintiff’s attorney, at one point urging Jones to calm down and referring to Jones as “young man.” At one point during the show, Jones punched a picture of Mattei. Pattis told Jones to stop showing Mattei’s face on air, adding that they didn’t know who had sent InfoWars the child pornography.“I didn’t come on your show to be made out to be a naive fool,” Pattis said. The Sandy Hook attorneys urged the judge in the case to consider action against Jones over the show at a hearing on Tuesday. They haven’t specified yet what kind of action they want, but say in their motion that the court has an “obligation to protect” the lawyers on the case. Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Alex Jones blames conspiracy claims on 'psychosis'

Alex Jones blames conspiracy claims on 'psychosis'AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones blamed the various claims he's made over the years, including that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre was a hoax, on "psychosis," according to a deposition the "Infowars" host has given as part of a Texas lawsuit.



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James Alex Fields Jr. Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Of Heather Heyer

James Alex Fields Jr. Sentenced To Life In Prison For Murder Of Heather HeyerNeo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for



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James Alex Fields Jr. Found Guilty In Murder Of Heather Heyer In Charlottesville Car Attack

James Alex Fields Jr. Found Guilty In Murder Of Heather Heyer In Charlottesville Car AttackNeo-Nazi James Alex Fields Jr. was found guilty on 10 charges including first-



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PayPal ends business dealings with Alex Jones's Infowars

PayPal ends business dealings with Alex Jones's InfowarsThe move makes PayPal the latest tech company to take action against Jones, a deeply controversial right-wing radio talk-show host who has suggested that the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax, among other sensational claims. “We’ve made a decision to end our relationship with Infowars websites, including PrisonPlanet,” a PayPal spokesman said.



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Twitter Finally Bans Alex Jones And Infowars

Twitter Finally Bans Alex Jones And InfowarsTwitter has decided to permanently ban conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who has



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Marco Rubio To Alex Jones: ‘Don’t Touch Me’

Marco Rubio To Alex Jones: 'Don't Touch Me'Video of the exchange shows Rubio finally breaking with reporters to confront Jones.



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Marco Rubio To Alex Jones: ‘Don’t Touch Me’

Marco Rubio To Alex Jones: 'Don't Touch Me'Video of the exchange shows Rubio finally breaking with reporters to confront Jones.



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