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Obama administration didn’t oversee Epstein plea deal

July 12, 2019

CLAIM: Prosecutors struck a secret plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein under the Obama administration.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Former President Barack Obama did not take office until Jan. 20, 2009, after then-Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta _ who resigned Friday from his post as U.S. secretary of labor _ entered into a secret 2008 no-prosecution agreement with Epstein. The deal resulted in the billionaire financier avoiding federal prosecution on far more serious charges related to the sexual abuse of teenage girls.

THE FACTS: Posts circulating on Twitter and Facebook are wrongly linking Obama to the no-prosecution plea deal federal prosecutors agreed to with Epstein. George W. Bush was president when the deal was finalized in 2008. The deal did not become public until it was revealed as part of a civil case.

The posts suggest that Obama hid Epstein’s case to protect fellow Democrats, such as former President Bill Clinton, who have been linked to Epstein. Clinton has acknowledged flying on Epstein’s private plane.

Acosta was appointed U.S. District Attorney for the Southern District of Florida by Bush. He served in the post from 2005 to 2009.

Several Democratic presidential candidates and other top Democrats are calling for the firing or resignation of Acosta, who was appointed labor secretary by President Donald Trump in 2017. Acosta told reporters Wednesday that he and other prosecutors “proceeded appropriately” with the case.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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