Attorney General William Barr will not recuse himself from a case involving sex-trafficking related charges filed against billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein by federal prosecutors in New York.
Bloomberg News reports that Barr came to the decision after consulting Justice Department ethics officials.
A Justice official told the Associated Press that Barr will remain recused from any review of a 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges on federal sex trafficking offenses in Florida. Epstein served 13 months in a Florida state prison following the plea deal.
Dozens of Democratic members of Congress and presidential candidates have demanded that Trump’s Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resign because of his role as then-U.S. Attorney in Miami in signing off on the 2008 plea deal.
“I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined for a period of time,” Barr told reporters in South Carolina on Monday. Barr’s former law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, had previously represented the convicted sex offender.
Epstein was arrested in New York last Saturday on charges related to sex trafficking. He was charged Monday in federal court in Manhattan with sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.