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New grand jury transcripts released in Jeffrey Epstein case reveal prosecutors knew about allegations against him

New grand jury transcripts released in Jeffrey Epstein case reveal prosecutors knew about allegations against him

A Florida judge on Monday released 150 pages of the grand jury case transcripts since 2006 investigating allegations of sex trafficking and rape made against financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Newly released documents from 18 years ago unsealed by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Luis Delgado revealed that prosecutors knew of detailed allegations against Epstein years before the financier received a sweetheart deal.

According to testimony from 2006, the investigation into Epstein had begun a year earlier. Two victims were questioned during the proceedings, including one who claimed that Epstein, then 50, had abused her when she was 14.

The second victim said Epstein raped her the day before her 18th birthday.

A detective in charge of the case testified that victims were paid for sexual acts and encouraged to recruit other underage girls, being told “the younger the better.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill in February allowing the documents to be released on or after July 1. Florida grand jury transcripts are typically kept secret, but the bill created an exemption for cases like Epstein’s.

“There needs to be a mechanism in some of these rare circumstances where people can get the truth and where we can try to seek justice,” DeSantis said in signing the bill.

Despite the severity of the allegations, Epstein reached a plea deal with prosecutors two years later. He spent just 13 months in prison as part of a work-release program after pleading guilty to state prostitution crimes. He also had to register as a sex offender.

Some of Epstein’s victims spoke out about the case in February.

“We’ve been left in the dark, with no answers as to what’s going on and why things happened the way they did,” said Jena-Lisa Jones, one of the alleged victims.

Prosecutors have been criticized for their questioning of victims during the 2006 trial, including asking them to acknowledge that they had engaged in prostitution with Epstein. Prosecutors also noted that some of the victims had past problems, including drug use and shoplifting.

“One of the big takeaways from the grand jury testimony is that people knew about this really problematic conduct for a long time and not much was done to stop Jeffrey Epstein,” said CBS News legal contributor Jessica Levinson.

Epstein was arrested in 2019 on federal charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls. His death in prison before he could stand trial was ruled it was a suicide.

Last year, a Department of Justice watchdog He said a “combination of negligence and misconduct” allowed Epstein to take his own life.

Twelve of Epstein’s accusers sued the FBI in February For failing to protect them, according to a complaint filed in federal court in New York. The complaint alleges that tips, reports and complaints about Epstein’s activities were provided to the FBI beginning in 1996.