Prosecutors attacked underage victims as prostitutes to sabotage 2006 case against Epstein, new transcripts appear to show

Prosecutors handling a grand jury trial proceeding against Jeffrey Epstein in 2006 may have sabotaged their own case by attacking two underage victims as prostitutes and criminals, newly released transcripts appear to show.

On Monday, Circuit Judge Luis Delgado released about 150 pages of a transcript taken during Epstein’s four-hour grand jury hearing in Palm Beach County in July 2006. Though grand jury transcripts are usually sealed permanently, Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a law earlier this year to ensure the public’s access to grand jury transcripts in certain cases such as Epstein’s.

‘Does her website also include pictures of her in skimpy attire, drinking alcohol and sexually provocative photos?’

Delgado seemed eager to disseminate the transcripts, indicating it was necessary to preserve the integrity of the court. “For almost 20 years, the story of how Jeffrey Epstein victimized some of Palm Beach County’s most vulnerable has been the subject of much anger and has at times diminished the public’s perception of the criminal justice system,” he wrote.

“The details in the record will be outrageous to decent people. The testimony taken by the Grand Jury concerns activity ranging from grossly unacceptable to rape — all of the conduct at issue is sexually deviant, disgusting, and criminal.”

Delgado did not exaggerate. The transcripts appear to show former State’s Attorney Barry Krischer and Lanna Belohlavek painting two victims as criminals and prostitutes.

The first victim testified that she was just 14 years old when she first went to Epstein’s mansion to give him a massage in exchange for $300. At Epstein’s request, she allegedly stripped down to her underwear, gave him a massage, and then allowed him to use a vibrator on her for an extra $100.

The girl also admitted that she lied and told Epstein she was 18. It is unclear how many encounters she may have had with Epstein. About a year after her initial visit to his mansion, the girl’s stepmother found the money, learned the reason Epstein had given it to her, and reported the girl’s claims to local police.

Despite evidence that the girl was likely the victim of statutory rape and sexual grooming, prosecutors called her out as a criminal.

“You aware that you committed a crime?” prosecutor Belohlavek asked the girl during the grand jury hearing.

The girl replied that she didn’t realize at the time that what she had done was a crime but had since come to realize that it was. “Now, I guess it’s prostitution or something like that,” she said.

A juror also asked the girl whether she knew “deep down” when she was going to Epstein’s mansion that what she was doing was “wrong” and damaging to her “reputation.” The girl replied that she did.

The other victim who testified at the grand jury proceeding claimed that she had visited Epstein’s mansion more than 100 times, and during the course of those visits, Epstein gradually convinced her to participate in more and more sexual activity in exchange for $200. She also received money and even a rental car for her personal use if she brought along other girls, she said.

“He told her, ‘The younger, the better,'” Palm Beach Police Detective Joe Recarey testified at the hearing.

The girl said Epstein knew she was 17 from the start of these visits. On the day before her 18th birthday, Epstein allegedly escalated their encounters to intercourse for the first time. “She screamed no,” Recarey testified. So Epstein reportedly stopped and paid the girl $1,000.

Once again, prosecutors appeared to impugn the girl’s character.

“You understand that you in effect were committing prostitution yourself,” one said.

At various times during the hearing, Krischer and Belohlavek also harped on the girls’ body piercings, their shoplifting escapades, their arrests for other alleged crimes, and how much money they made from Epstein. During the testimony of one investigator, one prosecutor even asked, “Does her [MySpace page] also include pictures of her in skimpy attire, drinking alcohol and sexually provocative photos?”

‘It is so sad, the number of victims Epstein was able to abuse because the State carried water for him when they had a chance to put him away.’

Though the grand jury transcript does not reveal all the possible charges on which the grand jury could have indicted Epstein, the grand jury ultimately indicted him on a single count of solicitation of prostitution.

In an agreement with federal prosecutors two years later, Epstein pled guilty to that original solicitation charge plus an additional count of soliciting a minor into prostitution. He served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in a low-security prison with almost daily work release, so he was able to return to his office on a regular basis.

With the newly released transcripts, critics are once again appalled at the way prosecutors handled the initial case. Spencer Kuvin, who represented nine of Epstein’s alleged victims, including one of the girls who testified before the grand jury, called it “despicable” and “atrocious.”

“They basically tanked their own case,” he said.

“It just reaffirmed what we always knew was happening is that the state attorney was afraid to prosecute him, and that they tanked their own case by attacking their own witnesses during the grand jury proceeding,” he added.

“It was almost like the grand jury proceeding was an attempt to prosecute the teenagers and ignore Epstein.”

Brad Edwards, another attorney for some of Epstein’s alleged victims, made similar comments, claiming prosecutors wanted the grand jury “to return minimal” charges against Jeffrey Epstein — “if any.”

“A fraction of the evidence was presented, in a misleading way, and the Office portrayed the victims as criminals,” Edwards continued. “It is so sad, the number of victims Epstein was able to abuse because the State carried water for him when they had a chance to put him away.”

Detective Recarey died in 2018. Epstein then died the following year while awaiting federal trial in New York. Reports indicate he hanged himself in his prison cell.

Krischer did not respond to a request for comment from the AP about the transcript but has previously defended his handling of the case. “No matter how my office resolved the state charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office always had the ability to file its own federal charges,” he said in a statement in 2019.

The Miami Herald attempted to reach Belohlavek for comment but was unsuccessful.

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