Judge Krista Marx did not disclose any potential conflicts of interest when ruling not to release grand jury records related to disgraced financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, despite having connections to those involved in the case.
Epstein was first investigated in 2005 by the Palm Beach Police Department after a women alleged her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein's mansion and paid $300 to strip and massage him. The investigation resulted in the police filing a probable cause affidavit in May 2006, suggesting Epstein be charged with four counts of unlawful sex with minors and one count of sexual abuse.
Former Florida State Attorney Barry Krischer declined to prosecute Epstein on these charges. Instead, he took the unusual step of convening a grand jury—something generally only done in capital cases—and presented evidence from two victims. The grand jury charged Epstein with one count of felony solicitation of prostitution.
Marx is the Chief Judge in the 15th Judicial Circuit of Florida in Palm Beach, Florida. Marx was formerly employed by Krischer. In addition, Marx's daughter works as an assistant state attorney for current State Attorney Dave Aronberg, while her son is a sheriff's deputy under Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, according to information uncovered by the Miami Herald's Julie K. Brown. Brown has written a number of articles for the Herald exposing Epstein.
Aronberg, along with county clerk Sharon Bock, was sued by The Palm Beach Post to release the grand jury records. Marx dismissed the case Wednesday without disclosing that she had any connection to the defendant.
In January, after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered an investigation into why Krischer decided not to prosecute Epstein—or even speak to Epstein's accusers or their parents, according to The Palm Beach Post—and why Bradshaw allegedly allowed Epstein to have sex with women while in sheriff's custody, Marx also refused to unseal the records, characterizing the request as a "fishing expedition."
A "fishing expedition" is legal slang for when a prosecutor makes a non-specific search for information by calling for all the documents related to a case. Though the tactic is legal, it is often seen as an attempt by prosecutors to bolster a weak case by combing through mountains of information to look for anything incriminating.
When confronted by the Herald about Brown's findings, Marx declined to comment.
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