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Florida is releasing Jeffrey Epstein's grand jury report

U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.
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U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.

MIAMI — Florida says it will soon release the grand jury proceedings in Jeffrey Epstein's 2006 sexual abuse case.

Epstein was a wealthy financier, who was charged with paying dozens of girls over many years for sex. He died in a jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.

More than a decade earlier, a grand jury convened in Florida's Palm Beach County investigated allegations that he was sexually abusing teenage girls and young women at his estate. The grand jury ultimately returned a single charge of soliciting prostitution. Following a federal investigation, Epstein pleaded guilty in state court to two prostitution charges and received a lenient sentence. He served just 13 months in prison, leaving the jail almost every day as part of a work release deal.

At a news conference in Palm Beach, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill authorizing the release of Epstein's grand jury records, calling it "long overdue." He also called for the release of records from the FBI investigation of Epstein. "I would challenge Joe Biden to do that now," he said. "There are still a lot of unanswered questions about how this happened."

The Florida grand jury records are expected to be opened when the law goes into effect in July.

Some of Epstein's victims were with DeSantis at the bill signing. Haley Robson was 16 years old when she was recruited and began working for Epstein. She said she hoped releasing the grand jury report will finally provide some answers. "Why was Jeffrey Epstein given such grace and mercy for his inhumane crimes? And why were we outed in the media and treated so poorly?"

Epstein had several homes, often flying guests and girls to his estate on a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton and attorney Alan Dershowitz were among his high-profile guests. His former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell is currently serving a 20-year sentence for child sex trafficking while with Epstein.

More than a decade after Epstein completed the terms of his plea deal and probation, a series of reports in the Miami Herald brought new attention to Epstein and his victims. He was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges when he was found dead in his jail cell, a death that was ruled suicide.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: February 28, 2024 at 11:00 PM CST
A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to Jeffrey Epstein's victims as underage women. In fact, they were girls.
As NPR's Miami correspondent, Greg Allen reports on the diverse issues and developments tied to the Southeast. He covers everything from breaking news to economic and political stories to arts and environmental stories. He moved into this role in 2006, after four years as NPR's Midwest correspondent.
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