WPTV by Sam Smink
July 26, 2019
PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw has ordered a criminal investigation into his agency’s handling of the Jeffrey Epstein case, while the Palm Beach billionaire and registered sex offender was on a work release program more than a decade ago.
This is in addition to an internal investigation into deputies that spokesperson Teri Barbera announced last week.
Barbera confirmed to Contact 5 PBSO is conducting both the criminal and internal investigation.
Contact 5 learned of the criminal investigation after numerous public records requests were denied late Thursday evening, citing an active criminal investigation. The requests were sent in before the active investigation. A spokesperson for the Florida First Amendment Foundation, a non-profit entity that fights for the public’s right to government records, confirmed they are researching the matter and seeking clarification from the Attorney General’s office.
Law enforcement sources tell Contact 5 that it is common for agencies to investigate themselves both criminally and internally. However, PBSO could ask another agency to look into the matter if they felt like there was a conflict of interest.
Sheriff Ric Bradshaw both approved and oversaw Epstein’s work release benefits.
Between 2008 and 2009, Epstein, who became a convicted sex offender after pleading guilty to solicitation of a minor, was allowed to leave his cell in the Palm Beach County Jail six days a week, for 12 hours a day.
RELATED: Jeffrey Epstein paid Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office $128,000 during incarceration for prostitution charges
WPTV Contact 5 Investigators uncovered that Epstein was allowed to get picked up by his private driver, sometimes in a limo, and go to his office in downtown West Palm Beach, without a deputy following. PBSO told us not to “forget he had a GPS monitor” but Contact 5 uncovered logs showing issues with the GPS monitor.