Trump to nominate Eugene Scalia as his new labor secretary

President Trump intends to nominate Eugene Scalia, a prominent Washington lawyer and son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, to be his new labor secretary.

“Gene has led a life of great success in the legal and labor field and is highly respected not only as a lawyer, but as a lawyer with great experience,” Trump said in a pair of tweets on Thursday night.

Scalia, 55, a partner at the firm Gibson Dunn, received a law degree from the University of Chicago. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace Alex Acosta, who announced his resignation last week amid an outcry over his handling of a decade-old sex crimes case against disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

“I thought the right thing was to step aside,” Acosta told reporters at the White House as he announced he would step down. He also wrote in a letter to Trump that “our agenda, putting the American people first, must avoid any distractions.”

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UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 02: At left, Eugene Scalia, nominee for Solicitor of Labor, gets encouragement from Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., before Scalia's conformation hearing. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)

Friday is Acosta’s final day on the job, and Trump said the outgoing secretary’s deputy, Patrick Pizzella, would be named acting secretary of the department.

As the top federal prosecutor in South Florida in 2007 and 2008, Acosta signed off on a lenient plea deal with Epstein that allowed him to resolve earlier charges by serving just 13 months in a county jail and registering as a sex offender. He could have spent the rest of his life in federal prison.

Also see: Acosta out: Where will DOL go from here?

Acosta was said to have been on thin ice in the Trump administration even before Epstein was indicted on new charges. Corporate lobbyists and some White House officials had grown frustrated that Acosta hasn’t moved fast enough on deregulation and other business-friendly initiatives. The administration initially defended Acosta, saying that the media should focus their attention on Epstein. A judge on Thursday denied Epstein’s request for bail, an early win for prosecutors that increases the pressure on the accused child sex trafficker and his defense team.

Bloomberg News