Editor's note: On August 10, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein died in an apparent jailhouse suicide. For more information, see The Daily Beast's reporting here.
Jeffrey Epstein’s lenient 2008 conviction for his sexual assaults on adolescent girls may be described as one of the greatest travesties of justice in recent history. Brad Edwards, an attorney for many of Epstein’s victims, announced last week that Epstein continued to prey on young women while serving his sentence in Palm Beach. Unlike other sex offenders in Florida, Epstein had his own wing of the Palm Beach County jail and liberal work-release policies. Due to this new information, the Miami Herald reported, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) has suddenly opened an internal-affairs investigation of Epstein’s incarceration.
As part of my research on the Epstein case, I sent an FOIA request earlier this summer to the PBSO concerning Jeffrey Epstein (inmate No. W35755). I asked for two records: Work-Release List entries and the Visitor Information Log. Six days later, I received an email requesting that I phone to clarify my request. I thought this was strange because “Work-Release List” and “Visitor Information Log” are the exact names of documents that I already knew the PBSO maintained.
The officer I spoke to on the phone seemed reluctant to provide the records. He intimated that they were for an older inmate and probably not kept. When I pressed him, he then described the records as possibly hand-written and difficult to obtain. It seemed as if there might be no records, but then inexplicably, several days later, an email with three PDF attachments arrived in my inbox.
The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office sent me 149 pages of “Work Release” sign-in sheets in two “batches.” Additionally, they returned a single-page Visitor Log. (However, I already had other Visitor Logs for Epstein from other sources, which suggests they did not release all the records to me.) Many of the Work Release forms were duplicates and not 149 separate records for each of his work-release days. If someone did not comb through each page carefully, they might falsely believe all the relevant records were provided.
Another document I obtained (separately from this FOIA) was of a fax sent by the PBSO (Media Relations division) that contained work-release sign-in/sign-out sheets for 10 days in July 2009, plus “Extra Duty” records for several days when Palm Beach Sheriff’s officers provided private security for Jeffrey Epstein. The documents in this fax were not included in the response to my FOIA request.
In total, the records I assembled contained 77 actual days of Jeffrey Epstein’s work release from October 2008 through July 2009. The top of the form identifies it as a “Work Release Log,” the day of the week, and the date. Below is the name of the prisoner (Jeffrey Epstein) with his sign-out time (8 a.m. or 10 a.m.) and his sign-in time for when he returns from work. Both the sheriff’s deputy and Epstein were required to sign separately each day when he left and when he returned.
Below is an example from Nov. 5, 2008, that appears to be in compliance. The officer who signed Epstein out and the officer who signed him back in both put their signatures and badge numbers on the top two lines. On the bottom two lines are Epstein’s “infinity loop” signature (he signed when he left and signed when he returned).
However, across the 77 days of records from the PBSO, I found an officer did not sign 30 of Epstein’s sign-in/sign-out sheets. See an example below where it appears Epstein signed himself in and out. Also, the time he returned has been altered, where 22:00 (10 p.m.) is crossed out and an earlier time is written in to make it appear he returned at 9:34 p.m. No signature or initials are written next to the modification.
Epstein paid deputies $128,000 to provide him security while on work release.
In yet another example below (Nov. 26, 2008), a series of handwritten lines with Epstein’s signature were affixed for 11/28, 11/29, 11/30, and 12/1 with no officer’s signatures (with a badge number written in on 11/30 and only one nearly illegible one on his 11/28 signout).
Since Epstein is a Level 3 registered sex offender (the most dangerous kind), it raises troubling questions about how closely he was monitored during his work release. Epstein was permitted to delay his sex-offender registration until July 22, 2009.
The PBSO chief deputy sheriff said Epstein was a “model prisoner” and, of his deputies paid to supervise Epstein during his work-release, he said: “That would shock me if the deputies let someone else in... They knew exactly what the rules and regulations were.” However, one of the deputies, in a document I viewed (for July 11, 2009), reported that they contacted their Sergeant (W. Lawrence) “...to get some clarity of the duties and responsibilities while at the residence. He stated the function is to provide security.”
In one instance, Epstein’s peculiar work-release appears to have triggered an automated violation report on Nov. 16, 2008.
The sheriff’s office personnel who provided security for him had to create logs for when they watched him at the Florida Science Foundation (a foundation he apparently set up for his work-release). This appears to have involved two shifts (from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.). On July 11, 2009 (see below), the officer noted that Epstein had one female visitor who signed in. The officer reported that he followed Epstein to his Palm Beach estate at 12 p.m., where Epstein stayed for two and a half hours. The officer did not enter Epstein’s residence and sat outside in his car.
At 2:31 p.m., he brought Epstein back to his office. The starting and ending mileage implies that the officer drove 75 miles that day. The distance from the county jail to the Florida Science Foundation, to Epstein’s house is 4 to 5 miles (depending on the route). From the Florida Science Foundation to Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion is 3.6 to 4 miles. This would result in a 15 to 16-mile round trip. It is unclear how 75 miles were logged that day.
When asked about Epstein’s work-release shift, the current PBSO Chief Michael Gauger said “He did not have free time to wander. He was not allowed to go out for lunch. He had to stay in that office the entire time.” However, in some of the logs, the officers report following Epstein to his residence and providing security. One, below, reports the officer did not enter Epstein’s residence. This suggests there were major deficiencies in how Epstein was monitored.
The officer who provided the work summary in the above report was recently quoted in the Florida Daily Post saying “I do remember young women coming in and going back into the office area.”
Similarly, on July 5, 2009, the PBSO officer allowed Epstein to violate his work-release and remain at his Palm Beach estate on El Brillo Way until 2:45 p.m. (see below).
On July 6, 2009, the sheriff’s deputy reported Epstein left at 10 p.m. and that the deputy’s shift ended at 11 p.m. There is no badge number listed on Epstein’s sign-in sheet.
Below, the July 6, 2009, sign-in/out record indicates that Epstein signed back in to the jail at 23:00 (11 p.m.). However, the sheriff’s record says he left at 22:00 hrs (10 p.m.). This implies it took Epstein an hour to travel four miles (the distance between the Florida Science foundation to the jail).
Once back in his jail cell, it has been reported that the door was often left unlocked and Epstein had access to an “attorney room” with a television. Mike Fisten, the private investigator who has followed Epstein for a decade, noted deficiencies in the PBSO visitor logs, said that Epstein was allowed “lavish lunches,” and claimed he found evidence that Epstein was having sexual meetings during his work-release.
Two phone messages left with the PBSO about the discrepancies were not returned by press time.