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Grand jury transcripts reveal prosecutors’ knowledge of Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes

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Sixteen years later, newly released grand jury transcripts show Florida prosecutors knew Jeffrey Epstein raped two teenaged girls two years before they offered him a now heavily criticized, secret, lenient plea deal. Circuit Judge Luis Delgado ordered the surprise release of the documents after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R, signed a law in February permitting the records to be made public.

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Delgado wrote that the records show Epstein is “the most infamous pedophile in American history.”

Police in Palm Beach, Florida, began investigating the late multimillionaire financier in 2005, after a woman called the police department and accused Epstein of sexually assaulting her 14-year-old daughter at his West Palm Beach mansion.

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The woman said Epstein paid the teenager $300 for a massage in her underwear.

The accusation sparked a two-year investigation, which involved the FBI. The bureau found Epstein abused several teenaged girls and paid them to recruit and bring him more victims.

The grand jury testimony records reveal that prosecutors sought to undermine the victims’ credibility, accusing them of the crime of prostitution.

The prosecutor asked one of the 14-year-old victims if she knew she had committed a crime since Epstein paid her money after sexually assaulting her.

The prosecutors also asked the teenage victims about their home lives. Questions included asking whether their fathers knew about the hundreds of dollars they had acquired and if they had posted pictures to their MySpace accounts showing themselves wearing “skimpy attire” and “drinking alcohol.”

The prosecutors have not responded to the release of the transcripts.

Epstein was indicted in 2007 and a U.S. attorney in Florida negotiated a sweetheart plea deal.

Instead of facing charges for sex trafficking and rape, Epstein pleaded guilty to two felony prostitution charges in 2008 and served 18 months in a Florida prison on a work-release program. He was able to leave his cell every day to go to his Palm Beach office and home.

Critics said Epstein’s ties to the wealthy and famous — including former Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, and even British royalty such as Prince Andrew — allowed him to skirt a harsher punishment and criticized it as preferential treatment.

Critics also called the sentence a “slap on the wrist,” allowing Epstein to continue his abuses against young girls.

He was accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls at his homes in Manhattan, Palm Beach and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and paying them to bring him more clients.

Epstein was again arrested in 2019 after a Miami Herald investigation revealed the secret plea deal. As he was awaiting trial, he was found dead in his New York prison cell.

Investigators said he had killed himself.

“For almost 20 years, the story of how Jeffrey Epstein victimized some of Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable has been the subject of much anger and has at times diminished the public’s perception of the criminal justice system,” Delgado wrote.

Epstein’s estate has paid $121 million in restitution to nearly 135 victims.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

16 YEARS LATER — NEWLY RELEASED GRAND JURY TRANSCRIPTS SHOW FLORIDA PROSECUTORS KNEW JEFFREY EPSTEIN RAPED TWO TEENAGED GIRLS TWO YEARS BEFORE THEY OFFERED HIM A NOW HEAVILY CRITICIZED SECRET LENIENT PLEA DEAL.

CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE LUIS DELGADO ORDERED THE SURPRISE RELEASE OF THE DOCUMENTS AFTER FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS SIGNED A LAW IN FEBRUARY PERMITTING THE RECORDS BE MADE PUBLIC. 

JUDGE DELGDO WROTE THAT THE RECORDS SHOW EPSTEIN IS “THE MOST INFAMOUS PEDOPHILE IN AMERICAN HISTORY.”

POLICE IN PALM BEACH, FLORIDA BEGAN INVESTIGATING THE LATE MULTI-MILLIONAIRE FINANCIER IN 2005 – AFTER A WOMAN CALLED THE POLICE DEPARTMENT, ACCUSING EPSTEIN OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING HER 14-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER AT HIS WEST PALM BEACH MANSION.

THE WOMAN SAID EPSTEIN PAID THE TEENAGER $300 FOR A MASSAGE IN HER UNDERWEAR.

THE ACCUSATION SPARKED A TWO YEARS-LONG INVESTIGATION, WHICH INVOLVED THE FBI. THEY FOUND EPSTEIN ABUSED SEVERAL TEENAGED GIRLS AND PAID THEM TO RECRUIT AND BRING HIM MORE VICTIMS. 

THE GRAND JURY TESTIMONY RECORDS REVEAL: PROSECUTORS SOUGHT TO UNDERMINE THE VICTIMS’ CREDIBILITY – ACCUSING THEM OF THE CRIME OF PROSTITUTION. 

THE PROSECUTOR ASKING ONE OF THE 14-YEAR-OLD VICTIMS IF SHE KNEW SHE HAD COMMITTED A CRIME SINCE EPSTEIN PAID HER MONEY AFTER SEXUALLY ASSAULTING HER.

THE PROSECUTORS ALSO ASKED THE TEENAGE VICTIMS WHAT THEIR HOME LIVES WERE LIKE – IF THEIR FATHERS KNEW ABOUT THE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS THEY HAD ACQUIRED –AND IF THEY HAD POSTED PICTURES TO THEIR MYSPACE ACCOUNTS SHOWING THEMSELVES WEARING “SKIMPY ATTIRE” AND “DRINKING ALCOHOL”.

THE PROSECUTORS HAVE NOT RESPONDED TO THE RELEASE OF THE TRANSCRIPTS. 

EPSTEIN WAS INDICTED IN 2007 – AND THE US ATTORNEY NEGOTIATED A SWEETHEART PLEA DEAL.

INSTEAD OF FACING CHARGES FOR SEX TRAFFICKING AND RAPE IN 2008 – EPSTEIN PLEADED GUILTY TO TWO FELONY PROSTITUTION CHARGES AND SERVED 18 MONTHS IN A FLORIDA PRISON ON A WORK-RELEASE PROGRAM. HE WAS ABLE TO LEAVE HIS CELL EVERYDAY TO GO TO HIS PALM BEACH OFFICE AND HOME.

CRITICS SAY EPSTEIN’S TIES TO THE WEALTHY AND FAMOUS – INCLUDING FORMER PRESIDENTS BILL CLINTON AND DONALD TRUMP – AND EVEN BRITISH ROYALTY SUCH AS PRINCE ANDREW – ALLOWED HIM TO SKIRT A HARSHER PUNISHMENT AND CRITICIZED AS PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT.

CRITICS ALSO CALLED THE SENTENCE A “SLAP ON THE WRIST” ALLOWING EPSTEIN TO CONTINUE HIS ABUSES AGAINST YOUNG GIRLS. 

HE WAS ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING DOZENS OF UNDERAGE GIRLS AT HIS HOMES IN MANHATTAN, PALM BEACH AND THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — AND PAYING THEM TO BRING HIM MORE CLIENTS.

EPSTEIN WAS AGAIN ARRESTED IN 2019 AFTER A MIAMI HERALD INVESTIGATION REVEALED THE SECRET PLEA DEAL AND AS HE WAS AWAITING TRIAL – HE WAS FOUND DEAD IN HIS NEW YORK PRISON CELL.

INVESTIGATORS SAID HE HAD KILLED HIMSELF.

“FOR ALMOST 20 YEARS, THE STORY OF HOW JEFFREY EPSTEIN VICTIMIZED SOME OF PALM BEACH COUNTY’S MOST VULNERABLE HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF MUCH ANGER AND HAS AT TIMES DIMINISHED THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTION OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM,” DELGADO WROTE.

EPSTEIN’S ESTATE HAS PAID $121 MILLION IN RESTITUTION TO NEARLY 135 VICTIMS.

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