02:59 GMT14 August 2020
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    Following an initial investigation into Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual misconduct back in 2005-2006, the now-deceased financier was convicted of soliciting prostitutes as part of a plea deal, while other charges in relation to sexual abuses and unlawful sex with minors were thrown out.

    Florida Judge Krista Marx who previously refused to release grand jury records in relation to Jeffrey Epstein’s 2006 criminal case did not disclose her family and professional connections to key players in the matter, an investigation by the Miami Herald has revealed.

    In 2005, the Palm Beach Police Department started an investigation into Jeffrey Epstein over a woman’s claims that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had to strip down and message the businessman for a financial reward while in his mansion. The police concluded the following year that Jeffrey Epstein should be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with an underage girl and one count of sexual abuse.

    However, former Florida State Attorney Barry Krischer convened a Palm Beach County grand jury at that time, something many saw as an unusual step, which charged Epstein with only one count of felony solicitation of prostitution. Epstein later negotiated a plea deal, and despite being convicted as a sex offender and sentenced to 18 months in prison, served only 13 months in Palm Beach County Jail with an ability to leave for work.

    In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, center, listens as Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller, right, addresses the court during Epstein's arraignment, Monday, July 8, 2019 in New York
    © AP Photo / Elizabeth Williams
    In this courtroom artist's sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, center, listens as Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller, right, addresses the court during Epstein's arraignment, Monday, July 8, 2019 in New York

    In February 2019, Federal Judge Kenneth A. Marra ruled out that the plea deal actually violated the law as it was concealed from dozens of the financier’s underage victims. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis later ordered a criminal probe into Krischer’s decision not to prosecute Epstein on sex charges, as well as Sheriff Ric Bradshaw’s allegedly lenient treatment of the sex offender while in prison. DeSantis also ordered a release of Krischer’s grand jury records from 2006.

    In January, Palm Beach Chief Judge Marx refused to release the documents, dubbing the request a “fishing expedition” – a legal term to describe a non-specific search for information.

    But the Florida governor was not the only one who wanted to see the records in the case. The Palm Beach Post dug into the story and sued State Attorney Dave Aronberg to release the grand jury records, but Marx dismissed the case this week, leaving the documents secret.

    Now the Miami Herald has revealed that the Palm Beach chief judge has connections to several key people in the case, including Krischer, who was her boss from 1992 to 1998. Currently, Marx’s daughter is said to be working for Dave Aronberg as an assistant state attorney, while her son is reportedly serving under Bradshaw as a sheriff’s deputy.

    Marx, who chairs Florida’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, refused to comment “on open cases” when approached by the Miami Herald, citing a judicial canons rule. Krischer also failed to respond to media requests.

    Jeffrey Epstein died in prison in August 2019 when awaiting prosecution on sex trafficking charges, following a second criminal case opened against him last year. His death was ruled a suicide but many found it suspicious due to his extensive connections with some of the world’s most powerful figures.

    Tags:
    Ron DeSantis, sex offenders, Sex Trafficking, Florida, Palm Beach, Jeffrey Epstein, United States
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