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House Oversight Committee calls on Alex Acosta to testify on Epstein case ahead of press conference

The House Oversight Committee is calling on Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to testify over his role in arranging a plea deal for financier Jeffrey Epstein ahead of his planned press conference on the subject.

A letter sent to Acosta on Wednesday from Oversight Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Chair Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) invites the Labor secretary to testify during a hearing that has been scheduled for July 23. The committee is set to examine Acosta's role in, when he was a Florida prosector, arranging a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein and not informing the victims of his alleged sexual abuse about it. A judge said earlier this year that Acosta violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act in doing so. After agreeing to the deal, Epstein, who faced potential life in prison, served only 13 months in jail.

Acosta's handling of the case has come under increased scrutiny in light of Epstein's recent arrest under sex trafficking charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Cummings and Raskin in the letter say that Acosta's testimony "is even more critical now" following Epstein's indictment. Acosta has been facing calls to resign from Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who say he mishandled the case.

This letter comes shortly before Acosta is scheduled to hold a press conference, during which he will not resign but rather defend his handling of the Epstein case, The Washington Post's Seung Min Kim reports. Acosta, reports The New York Times' Maggie Haberman, was "pushed into" doing his Wednesday press conference by Trump, who on Tuesday defended his Labor secretary and said he feels "very badly" for him.