Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a New York jail cell won’t affect the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation into his lenient 2008 plea deal for soliciting minors and cushy work-release arrangement.
Press aides in Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office and the FDLE confirmed Tuesday that the preliminary probe will proceed as planned.
“The FDLE investigation on Jeffrey Epstein remains open,” DeSantis Communications Director Helen Aguirre Ferré said via email.
“Nothing changes for us. Our investigation continues,” said FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.
The responses came exactly one week after the governor gave the investigation to the state police agency. He acted upon a request from Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, who’d launched the probe into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s 13-month sentence years ago, which allowed him to spend 12 hours per day outside his cell.
Bruce Colton, prosecutor for the 19th Judicial Circuit, which includes Fort Pierce and Vero Beach, will oversee the investigation.
Then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta – who recently resigned as President Trump’s labor secretary – handled the investigation into state charges of soliciting minors for prostitution, sparking criticism on how the case was handled.
At the time of Epstein’s apparent suicide on Saturday, the financier was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in federal court in New York City.
Lauren Book, a Democratic state senator from Broward County, had urged DeSantis to order the state investigation. She issued a written statement after the news broke about Epstein’s death.
“I stand ready to assist the Governor and FDLE in uncovering the truth here in Florida,” Book said. “The brave women who came forward to confront the man who preyed upon them as girls will not get their day in court – but their courage made a difference and their voices matter.”