The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the local County Clerk of the Courts is seeking to make the newspaper pay the legal fees he incurred during a legal battle over grand jury records related to a 2006 Jeffrey Epstein investigation.
Getting right to the point, the Post's Jane Musgrave wrote, "Despite insisting he wants the public to know why serial molester Jeffrey Epstein escaped serious punishment 15 years ago, Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Joe Abruzzo wants to punish The Palm Beach Post for trying to open secret records that could do just that."
As the report notes, Abruzzo employed the Tampa law firm belonging to Shane Vogt to fight the request at a cost of $32,794 and, in a motion before Circuit Judge Donald Hafele, seeks double that plus additional costs.
Abruzzo has denied that he fought the release of secret records related to the Epstein investigation after the newspaper filed a lawsuit against the Clerk’s office.
Explaining the Post's case, Musgrave wrote, "The newspaper went to court after records showed only one teen was called to testify to the grand jury even though dozens told police Epstein sexually abused them at his Palm Beach mansion."
"Further, sources familiar with the grand jury proceedings said the 14-year-old girl was vilified by state prosecutors," she added. "Rather than focus on her claims of abuse, lieutenants for then-State Attorney Barry Krischer quizzed her about her online social media posts where she talked about drinking and boys, they said."
But Abruzzo said in a statement that the Palm Beach Post did not follow the proper procedures to seek the release of the grand jury records.
“Had the newspaper followed the proper procedure from the start, we would not be where we are today,” he said. “As a public official, it’s my responsibility to seek attorney fees and other costs related to this case. That’s the action my office is taking now.”
Abruzzo added that he is working with the Florida legislature to craft "a narrowly tailored amendment that would allow for these specific records to be released."
(Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that a Palm Beach lawmaker was suing the Palm Beach Post. Raw Story regrets the error.)