Florida sheriff launches investigation into handling of Epstein work release

A Florida sheriff on Friday launched an internal investigation into whether his deputies properly monitored billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who allegedly made inappropriate sexual contact during his 13-month jail sentence, The Associated Press reports.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said he wants to determine if any actions taken by the deputies assigned to monitor Epstein, 66, during his work release program violated any agency rules or regulations.

The 2008 plea deal — which was secured in part by outgoing Trump administration Labor Secretary Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaDemocrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Trump officially nominates Eugene Scalia as Labor secretary pick Our farmers need a better labor program MORE, who was a U.S. attorney at the time of Epstein’s conviction for soliciting prostitution from underage girls — allowed Epstein to serve 13 months in "custody with work release." Epstein was also able to spend 16 hours a day outside of prison.

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“All aspects of the matter will be fully investigated to ensure total accountability and transparency,” Bradshaw said, according to the AP.

Epstein was arrested in New Jersey this month on sex trafficking charges, and prosecutors allege he sexually abused dozens of girls between 2002 and 2005. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said federal agents discovered nude photographs of apparently underage girls in his New York mansion.

Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was denied bail on Thursday after federal prosecutors argued he was a flight risk.

The new charges, as well as renewed scrutiny of the 2008 plea deal, sparked widespread backlash that ultimately led to Acosta’s resignation from President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's top adviser on Asia to serve as deputy national security adviser United Auto Workers strike against GM poised to head into eighth day Trump doubles down on call to investigate Biden after whistleblower complaint: 'That's the real story' MORE’s Cabinet this month.