Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Orders Epstein Criminal Probe

Newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event at the Freedom Tower where he named Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court on January 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Mr. DeSantis was sworn in yesterday as the 46th governor of the state of Florida.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images,)
Joe Raedle/Getty

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered an investigation into Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and a former Palm Beach state attorney.

Bradshaw is facing hard questions about his conduct with respect to registered sex offender and alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein after his previous conviction. Pressure has mounted behind a 4,000-signature petition collected by Democrat State Senator Lauren Book, demanding that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement launch an inquiry into the sheriff’s decisions regarding Epstein.

Despite the nature of his alleged crimes — just some of which include luring disadvantaged underaged girls to his Palm Beach home for “nude massages, masturbation, oral sex, and intercourse” — Bradshaw reportedly granted Epstein unprecedented freedom through a more than generous “work release.”

DeSantis said that he announced the probe on Bradshaw’s behalf after he assured the governor in a letter that he would cooperate with the investigation. “I believe the public interest would be best served by an FDLE-led [Florida Department of Law Enforcement] investigation examining every aspect of the Epstein case, from court sentencing to incarceration,’’ Bradshaw wrote.

“For 48 years, I’ve dedicated my life to enforcing and upholding the law; as a patrol officer, detective, chief of police and, since 2004, as the Sheriff of Palm Beach County,” Bradshaw said in the letter. “My job now, as it always has been, is to not only maintain public safety but also the public’s trust.”

Former State Attorney Barry Krischer has also drawn a wary eye for his push to only charge Epstein with a misdemeanor after the conclusion of the 2006 investigation that uncovered numerous victims and led to Epstein’s brief and lenient incarceration. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta publicly accused Krischer’s office of being “ready to let Epstein walk free.”

Krischer has denied the accusation, calling Acosta’s “recollection” of the events “completely wrong.”

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