Miami, FL – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced it had finished its investigation and cleared the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) and the Palm Beach state’s attorney of wrongdoing in connection with a shady plea deal and unusually-lax jail privileges given to Jeffrey Epstein.
The Miami Herald obtained a copy a report from FDLE investigators that said they hadn’t found any evidence that former Palm Beach State’s Attorney Barry Krischer or his assistant state’s attorney had taken bribes or done anything else improper with the case.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the probe into the handling of Epstein’s case after a series in the Miami Herald detailed Epstein’s unprecedented federal immunity and ridiculously short jail sentence in 2008.
Epstein died in custody of New York authorities a month after he was indicted and incarcerated on sex trafficking charges in 2019.
In 2017, then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta made a shady plea deal Epstein that included an agreement not to federally prosecute him and a number of his co-conspirators in exchange for Epstein pleading guilty to relatively minor state charges in exchange for a 13-month sentence in the Palm Beach county jail.
The plea deal gave immunity to even his unidentified co-conspirators in a child sex trafficking ring, completely letting the sex traffickers off the hook.
Questions were raised because the Miami U.S. Attorney’s Office had compiled enough evidence for a 53-page sex crime indictment, the Miami Herald reported.
But FLDE’s investigation focused on how the state’s attorney handled the investigation, whether anybody from the sheriff’s department had committed any crimes while extending special privileges to Epstein, and allegations that Epstein sexually abused two women while he was on work release from the jail.
Dozens of sheriff’s deputies worked off-duty details that provided security for Epstein, the Miami Herald reported.
The 24-page report summary concluded that while it “appears that Epstein received differential treatment,” Epstein had met the county sheriff’s criteria for work release.
The women who allegedly were coerced to have sex with Epstein refused to cooperate with investigators, leaving them with insufficient evidence to conclude that he had committed the crimes, the Miami Herald report.
And FDLE’s report said the deputies who provided security for Epstein were hired for personal protection and weren’t there to monitor him, his computer, or his email.
“No evidence was developed to substantiate that any identified PBSO member engaged in criminal activity during the performance of their duties associated with PBSO’s housing and supervision of Jeffrey Epstein,’’ the report concluded.
FDLE noted the Epstein was housed in a special area of the Palm Beach county jail and later had a private cell in the facility’s infirmary, the Miami Herald reported.
The report said PBSO officials claimed they had done so because Epstein “was at risk of being extorted by other inmates and/or extorting other inmates himself.”
Officials also expressed concern about his safety in the jail “because PBSO personnel could not identify boyfriends or associates of his victims who were incarcerated with Epstein who might want to harm him,” the Miami Herald reported.
FDLE didn’t find that PBSO had given other inmates the same consideration, nor did they discern how or why Epstein had bought two pairs of women’s panties from the jail store.
Records showed that Epstein’s attorneys paid PBSO $128,136 for private security details that were performed by 91 different sheriff’s deputies wearing business suits, the Miami Herald reported.
PBSO paid the deputies directly and FDLE investigators found there was no proof of “undue financial influence” by Epstein.
Deputies reported Epstein was a model inmate and followed all the work-release guidelines, the Miami Herald reported.
“The public needs to know how it was possible that a ‘work release’ program and official oversight permitted Epstein to create multiple trafficking victims on the Government’s watch,’’ child advocate and expert Marci Hamilton, from Child USA, said.
Hamilton complained FDLE’s investigation left “far too many questions unanswered and an open question in my mind how the departments and offices intend to reform their practices to ensure this never happens again,” the Miami Herald reported.
But FDLE said the problem was that under state law at the time, prosecutors considered Epstein’s accusers to be prostitutes, even though they were juveniles being exploited for sex.
Prosecutors at the time said the girls gave conflicting accounts and some were too traumatized to testify, according to the FDLE.
The report gave examples of what the state’s attorney’s office considered “conflicting” accounts including that one victim claimed Epstein had used a purple vibrator on her although several other victims has described the vibrator as white, the Miami Herald reported.