Senate could discuss — but likely won’t pass — move to unseal Jeffrey Epstein grand jury testimony

The issue could return in future years.

A proposal to unseal grand jury testimony in the 2006 case involving Jeffrey Epstein — the billionaire financier accused by dozens of women of raping them while they were underage and who died in jail in 2019 — is being floated in the Florida Senate. The matter could be discussed Friday, but isn’t likely to pass.

Sen. Tina Polsky, a Boca Raton Democrat, has filed an amendment to SB 552, a bill dealing with clerks of court, that would allow grand jury testimony to be released to the public if the target is deceased. The bill is scheduled to be discussed and debated Friday.

“When a court orders the disclosure of such (grand jury) testimony … in response to a request by the media or other interested person, it may be disclosed so long as the subject of the grand jury inquiry is deceased, and the testimony was previously disclosed to law enforcement,” the amendment reads.

The amendment, however, is unrelated to the underlying bill and therefore is likely to be ruled out of order, or possibly withdrawn.

But the issue could return in future years, as public interest and pressure has grown for information in the Palm Beach County grand jury case to be released.

Florida law requires grand jury testimony to be sealed, and violating the law is a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $5,000.

Reporting by the Miami Herald that began in 2018, brought new attention and details to the case of Epstein, who received immunity from prosecutors on federal sex trafficking charges after pleading to charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution in 2008. He served 13 months, but much of the time was spent on work release.

The renewed attention led to Epstein’s arrest in July 2019 by New York authorities. He died in jail on Aug. 10, 2019, and the medical examiner ruled it a suicide, a ruling his lawyers dispute.

Palm Beach County clerk of court Joseph Abruzzo, a former Democratic state Senator, has custody of the records. A judge ruled last year in a case brought by the Palm Beach Post that the records must remain sealed because state law doesn’t allow them to be made public. But Abruzzo has said he’ll work to change state law to allow the records to be unsealed.

Gray Rohrer


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