WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The House Oversight Committee wants in on the Jeffrey Epstein investigations happening at both federal and state levels, but the documents they requested haven’t been turned over. The deadline for the request, January 3rd, came and went without a public peep from any government entities investigating the matter.
People say, ‘Well he’s dead why do you care?’ We care that this never happens again,” said Rep. Lois Frankel (D – 21st District). “What we are seeing now is, because of some of the decisions made here in Palm Beach County to let this man loose, a lot of other children were injured.”
Frankel represents the part of Palm Beach where many of Epstein’s crimes occurred, and she is part of a group of lawmakers who recently asked both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to turn over their investigative records tied to the Epstein case.
“We are not trying to go after anyone. The bad guy is dead,” Frankel told Contact 5 Investigator Merris Badcock. “But the fact of the matter is, you should not be able to have a prolific child abuser get off with a slap of the wrist and then continue to abuse children without knowing why he was let off, and then, number two, what we can do to prevent it in the future.”
In February 2019, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility opened an investigation into internal misconduct into whether or not U.S. attorneys in Miami botched the Epstein settlement. At the time, the Miami office was being run by now-former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta.
A few months after that, Governor Ron DeSantis authorized FDLE to investigate any possible misconduct within the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Prosecutors in Miami and Palm Beach County and top brass in PBSO have all come under fire for their handling of the Epstein case. Sources close to the case tell Contact 5 they question if the new investigations will be fair and transparent, given the history of Epstein’s special treatment.
Armed with the same question, in July 2019, the House Oversight Committee requested an update into OPR’s investigation, citing the importance that “OPR provides transparency into its findings,” according to a letter addressed to OPR’s Director and Chief Counsel, Corey Amundson.
But OPR declined to provide an update and hasn’t publicly spoken about the investigation since.
In December, the House Oversight Committee decided to launch it’s own review of the Epstein saga and requested that all documents and evidence tied to the investigation be turned over by January 3rd.
The committee sent letters to both FLDE Commissioner Richard Swearingen and U.S. Attorney General William Barr. While neither entity provided a public comment to Contact 5 as to why the deadline was missed, Frankel said investigators are cooperating with the House Oversight Committee.
“My understanding is that our committee has been in close communication with FDLE. I think they are still in their collection mode, and I don’t anticipate a problem,” said Frankel.
Regardless of the records, Frankel told Contact 5, at the end of the day, the House Oversight Committee intends to do its own investigation, with or without the help of other agencies. “The committee is actively seeking witnesses, producing documents and I expect there will be hearings in the near future.”
Contact 5 reached out to FDLE and the Department of Justice this morning for a comment, but no one got back to us by our deadline.