President Donald Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, DC, on July 17, 2019. Trump announced on Thursday that he will nominate Gene Scalia, former Justice Antonin Scalia's son, as secretary of labor.

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Trump picks son of former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia as next secretary of labor

July 18, 2019 - 9:24 pm
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By Allie Malloy and Caroline Kelly, CNN

(CNN) -- President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he will nominate Gene Scalia, former Justice Antonin Scalia's son, as secretary of labor -- replacing Alex Acosta, who resigned over the fallout from theplea deal he negotiated for Jeffrey Epstein in 2008.

"I am pleased to announce that it is my intention to nominate Gene Scalia as the new Secretary of Labor. 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 working with labor and everyone else," Trump tweeted Thursday. "He will be a great member of an Administration that has done more in the first 2 ½ years than perhaps any Administration in history!"

Politico was first to report that Trump was likely to nominate Scalia.

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Scalia will replace Acosta, the former Labor secretary who resigned following backlash over his role in negotiating a 2008 plea deal as the US attorney in Miami with Epstein, a well-connected multimillionaire.

Epstein avoided a federal trial at the time and served only 13 months in prison for state prostitution charges over his involvement with underage girls. A Miami Herald investigation published last November described the plea deal, negotiated by Acosta, as the "deal of a lifetime."

Epstein now faces accusations that he sexually abused dozens of teenage girls and is being held in jail without bail while he faces one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors related to alleged conduct that occurred between 2002 and 2005. He has pleaded not guilty.

Trump announced Acosta's resignation last week, to be effective Friday. He said at the time that Acosta would be replaced on an acting basis by the current deputy secretary, Pat Pizzella.

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