WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A judge has ruled against a Florida newspaper’s effort to gain release of state grand jury transcripts involving the investigation into Jeffrey Epstein, a wealthy financier convicted of sex crimes and suspected of many more.
The Palm Beach Post reports Chief Circuit Judge Krista Marx ruled the newspaper cannot demand the records from State Attorney Dave Aronberg or Clerk & Comptroller Sharon Bock. Only a judge can order release of the records, Marx wrote.
Marx granted requests from Aronberg and Bock to be dismissed from the lawsuit. But the judge also said the newspaper has the right to ask that the secret grand jury materials be released so they can be shared with the public. The Post’s attorney said the case will continue.
“The court does not suggest The Post has no available mechanism to obtain a court order granting it access to the grand jury proceedings,” Marx wrote, but added that the lawsuit against Aronberg and Bock “is not the proper mechanism for The Post to pursue its goal.”
The lawsuit concerns testimony before a Florida grand jury about allegations Epstein sexually assaulted dozens of underage girls at his Palm Beach mansion. Epstein was also under federal investigation at the time, but a proposed U.S. indictment was shelved in a 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser state charges.
Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month sentence and was required to register as a sex offender. Last year, he was indicted on federal charges in New York involving similar charges carrying a much longer prison sentence but died in jail in what was ruled a suicide.