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Palm Beach County clerk seeks release of Jeffrey Epstein grand jury records, urges for law change

Statement came out minutes before article critical of Joseph Abruzzo
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Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 19:38:03-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Palm Beach County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller wants records of the 2006 grand jury investigating Jeffrey Epstein to be made public. 

Clerk Joseph Abruzzo said state law needs to change for that to happen, and he's asking local lawmakers for help. 

"I will work with members of our Palm Beach County legislative delegation to ask the Legislature to amend the statute based on a right to justice," Abruzzo said in a news release. "If a person is deceased and the files in question have already been released, which are the facts of the Epstein case, that they would then become public record." 

The statement released by Abruzzo came out only minutes before a Palm Beach Post story was published critical of the clerk for opposing the newspaper's legal efforts to have a judge release the transcripts.

The Post reported Tuesday evening that Abruzzo's office hired outside counsel who vigorously argued against the release of the transcripts, including one argument adopted by the judge in denying the newspaper's request.

In what was dubbed a sweetheart deal in 2006, Epstein pleaded guilty to a single charge of solicitation of prostitution, despite claims of several underage women back then who told authorities Epstein forced them into sexual relations with him at his Palm Beach home. 

"I will leave no stone unturned to do whatever I can to shed full light and public disclosure on the Epstein case," added Abruzzo. 

Epstein died by suicide in 2019 after federal prosecutors brought several new charges against him. 

Abruzzo made the request after a court rejected a lawsuit by the Palm Beach Post seeking to release the grand jury records from 16 years ago. 

Records obtained by the newspaper show that then State Attorney Barry Krischer portrayed Epstein's teenage victims as prostitutes in front of the grand jury and sought to minimize the crimes.

Epstein's former girlfriend and accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, was found guilty of five of six charges last week and faces years in prison.