Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Epstein Grand Jury Documents to be Released under New Florida Law

'To not have justice on this is something that has been a big black spot on our justice system…and why did that happen?'

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill into law Thursday that will publicly release grand jury documents, including those related to the late Jeffrey Epstein.

Before his death in a Florida prison cell, Epstein stood accused of running a massive child sex trafficking ring.

DeSantis signed House Bill 117 Thursday, which would disclose grand jury testimony while revising the list of persons prohibited from disclosing witness testimony and would create an exception for requests by media or interested persons.

“They say that justice delayed is justice denied, and I think in many respects this whole ordeal has proven that to be true,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the investigation into Epstein was hindered because there was no access to the grand jury documents around the case.

“The Legislature and I agree that there needs to be a mechanism in some of these rare circumstances where people can get the truth and where we can try to pursue justice,” DeSantis said.

Epstein and his longtime girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell were accused of flying underage girls by private jet to his private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands for sexual exploitation.

Epstein faced criminal charges in Florida in 2006 but was able to get a more lenient plea deal that saved him from a long prison sentence. He was sentenced to 18 months but served more than a year in a Florida state prison.

In 2019, Epstein died while awaiting trial in New York after prosecutors concluded they were not bound to the terms of Epstein’s 2006 deal.

Authorities said he committee suicide by hanging himself in his jail cell, but that ruling has been widely scrutinized because of the circumstances related to his death and the potential number of high-profile co-conspirators he could have implicated.

“We’re now sitting here decades later, and you’ve had Epstein, and then Maxwell is actually in prison in Florida, and yet nothing else has ever happened with any of this,” DeSantis said. “How is that possible given the magnitude of what was going on, and what was going on in Florida was only a fraction of what was happening.”

DeSantis noted that Epstein was engaged in these activities and abuse in New York City, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands, and added Epstein had a massive operation targeting very young girls.

“To not have justice on this is something that has been a big black spot on our justice system…and why did that happen?” DeSantis said. “It happened because, you know, you had someone that was very rich, well connected, and was able to engineer an outcome that the average citizen would likely never be able to do.”

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