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Florida legislators push to unseal Epstein grand jury evidence

FILE - Jeffrey Epstein appears in court, July 30, 2008, in West Palm Beach, Fla. After dozens of previously sealed court documents related to financier Epstein were made public Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024, social media users began spreading false accusations about major public figures named in the release â and some who hadnât been named at all. (Uma Sanghvi/The Palm Beach Post via AP, File)


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Lawmakers in Florida are pushing to unseal secret evidence presented to a grand jury that resulted in a sweetheart prosecution deal for multimillionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein nearly 20 years ago, according to a report.

Two lawmakers who tried unsuccessfully last year to introduce legislation to eliminate the secrecy provision of grand juries renewed their push this month to change the law as part of an effort to convince the courts to unseal evidence given to a grand jury in 2006 that charged the serial pedophile with only one count of solicitation of a prostitute.

The grand jury proceedings in Palm Beach County marked the first time that the politically connected Epstein was charged in connection to the sex trafficking of young girls and women. But the charge amounted to a slap on the wrist, and Epstein was able to continue to abuse his victims without facing serious criminal liabilities, the Miami Herald reported.

“The public and victims need to know if the prosecutors steered the jury correctly or away from indicting Epstein on more severe charges,” Rep. Peggy Gossett-Seidman, said while presenting the legislation during a Criminal Justice Subcommittee hearing earlier this month. “Florida has a chance to fill the missing chapters of the story.”

Under an agreement with the U.S. Attorney in South Florida, Epstein was allowed to take a plea deal that ultimately sent him to jail for 13 months. He spent much of that time at his West Palm Beach office and mansion on a work-release program.

Epstein was arrested on federal sex-trafficking charges in July 2019. He committed suicide in a Manhattan lockup a month later.

The Florida legislation includes a companion bill sponsored in the Florida Senate by Democratic senator Tina Polsky, who has also demanded the release of the 2006 grand jury evidence.


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