The Jeffrey Epstein sex crimes saga is making its way back to court. Judge Donald W Hafele of Palm Beach County Circuit Court stated in December of 2021 that he felt the court did not have the authority to release Epstein’s 2006 grand jury proceedings.
The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled on May 10 that the same judge who presided over the Epstein case will have to reverse his decision, and the evidence presented to the grand jury accounts in the case will be released.
The Palm Beach Post Newspaper requests the release of the grand jury records. Commonly, the only ones who may request the unsealing of grand jury records were directly involved in the case before the court.
This would be the first time a public media organization has made this request in a local court, and the judge will have to decide if the newspaper has standing to allow the unsealing of the grand jury proceedings.
Craig Trocino, a law professor at the University of Miami, said the trial judge didn’t believe he had the legal authority to release the grand jury proceedings.
Since Jeffrey Epstein died in jail on August 10, 2019, while being held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York, NY, and no trial was held, no additional information will be introduced into the proceedings.
The only current information is contained in the grand jury documents. The judge will review the material from the case and decide if releasing it will further justice or not. If he feels it does not, then all records will remain sealed.
The Appeals Court based its decision on three elements of the law. Florida Statutes (2019) Section 905.27 allows the grand jury proceedings to be disclosed under a private right of action.
The Circuit Court also has the power in the regulations of grand juries. And the protection of grand jury secrecy has an exception and is not absolute in all cases.
The release of the grand jury transcripts includes many of Epstein’s flight logs and any named associates who were transported to Epstein’s private island where the alleged sex crimes were committed.