Jeffrey Epstein’s special treatment in jail was far more lenient than anyone knew
By Skyler Swisher and Marc Freeman
South Florida Sun Sentinel |
Aug 16, 2019 | 9:16 PM
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Alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein received far more jail work-release privileges about a decade ago than the public previously knew.
Alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein received far more jail work-release privileges about a decade ago than the public previously knew, according to records released Friday.
At one point in 2009, Epstein’s already generous work-release agreement was modified to allow him to leave Palm Beach County Jail seven days a week, for up to 16 hours a day — including two hours per day at the Palm Beach mansion where he previously sexually abused dozens of minor girls, records from the Sheriff’s Office reveal.
Epstein’s suicide while facing sex trafficking charges in New York six days ago has not stopped scrutiny about Epstein’s time in Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s custody after Epstein pleaded guilty to two state prostitution counts in 2008.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation into how the Sheriff’s Office and former state prosecutor handled Epstein back then. The Sheriff’s Office released the expanded Epstein case file Friday in response to a public records request.
Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw's office released more records Friday in the Jeffrey Epstein case. (Sun Sentinel file photo/Sun Sentinel)
Much of the focus by authorities is on Epstein’s activities in a Palm Beach County Jail work-release program that initially allowed him to leave the lockup for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, to spend time in a West Palm Beach office building.
A victim’s attorney claims Epstein had sexual relations during his time on work release, sparking outrage among state politicians.
“Floridians expect and deserve a full and fair investigation,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said this month.
While the records show there were times that Epstein was not observed by deputies, it’s not clear who may have visited him during the work release because logs were destroyed. That was permitted under a state law, officials say.
Still, records released Friday appear to show that Epstein’s jail visitors included two women listed as “friends,” which appears to contradict a department memo prohibiting Epstein from seeing “family members, girlfriends, children, friends or minors.”
The records show Epstein saw Sarah Kellen and Nadia Marcinkova. Both women, known Epstein associates, were granted immunity from federal charges as part of Epstein’s controversial “non-prosecution agreement” with the federal government.
Kellen and Marcinkova have been identified in federal court records as potential Epstein “co-conspirators” in his uncharged sexual abuse cases.
Information gleaned from the files shows that Epstein received special treatment during his entire time under the Sheriff’s Office supervision.
While back at the jail, Epstein had privileges such as an unlocked jail cell door and a private television, to make his stay in the stockade more comfortable.
“He is poorly versed in jail routine and society and his adjustment to incarceration will most likely be atypical,” Capt. Mark Chamberlain wrote in a memo on June 30, 2008.
Epstein was the only sex offender among 21 inmates in the work-release program at the time, and his approval for the program both surprised and concerned federal prosecutors, records show.
Epstein wound up spending 13 months in the stockade during 2008-2009 as part of his plea deal. The agreement ended a federal sex abuse investigation that involved dozens of teenage victims.
About 3½ months into his sentence, Epstein was allowed to work in the West Palm Beach office. Reports show he also was able to visit his Palm Beach mansion, despite initial restrictions on home visits. A memo shows Chief Deputy Mike Gauger approved a modification at the end of Epstein’s time at the jail that allowed him to visit his Palm Beach mansion from 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
In an interview four months ago, Gauger never mentioned Epstein being allowed to visit his home.
“He did not have free time to wander," Gauger said. “He was not allowed to go out for lunch. He had to stay in that office the entire time.”
In some reports, deputies referred to Epstein as the “client” and noted he was “very happy with the service” he was being provided.
As part of the arrangement, Epstein’s nonprofit organization paid nearly $128,000 to the Sheriff’s Office for off-deputy deputies to supervise the work release. The deputies were required to wear suits while on the detail.
State Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, led the calls for an FDLE investigation, noting how “Epstein enjoyed an unprecedented and deeply troubling level of leniency and luxury while incarcerated by PBSO … We need answers if we want accountability.”
Skyler Swisher can be reached at email@example.com, 561-243-6634 or @SkylerSwisher. Marc Freeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why was Jeffrey Epstein allowed to purchase small women’s panties from the Palm Beach jail?
By Sarah Blaskey and
August 17, 2019 08:32 PM, Updated August 19, 2019 10:23 PM
A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5.
It was just one of thousands of dollars of purchases made by the disgraced financier while in jail after pleading guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for sex, according to a purchase log. (His top purchase was single-serve cups of coffee, of which he bought more than 800 in 13 months.) But the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman.
The panties were certainly too small for Epstein, who also purchased his briefs in men’s medium and sweatshirts ranging from XL to 3XL, and size 12 shoes. So what, or who, were they for, and why wouldn’t the purchase raise eyebrows under the circumstances? It’s one of many questions that arise from thousands of pages of records obtained by the Miami Herald from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
The stockade held male and female inmates, separately, explaining why the panties were stocked.
On Friday, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail and stockade, handed out the records of his stay, during which he was allowed to leave the stockade in a chauffeur-driven car and deposited at a downtown West Palm Beach office building for a 12-hour-a-day, six-day-a-week respite from incarceration.
The records came out too late Friday to get a comment from Sheriff Ric Bradshaw or his spokeswoman. Bradshaw has faced increasingly fierce criticism — and his department is now under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement — for its seemingly soft treatment of the multimillionaire hedge fund manager, who was, according to the records, allowed to wander in and out of his unlocked cell at will.
That investigation is separate from the Justice Department probe looking at why then-federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta decided to shelve a 53-page sex trafficking indictment against Epstein, which could have put him away for life.
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