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Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest shows the power of one newspaper’s investigation

Posted at 2:43 AM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 07:37:09-04

In the past year the Jeffrey Epstein case was catapulted onto the national news radar by one newspaper, the Miami Herald, and by one reporter in particular, Julie K. Brown. The paper’s “Perversion of Justice” series came out last November, and Brown has stayed on the story ever since.

As soon as The Daily Beast broke the news that Epstein had been arrested on Saturday evening, fellow journalists and other observers credited Brown and thanked her for the tenacious investigation.

But Brown, true to form, shifted the spotlight: “The REAL HEROES HERE were the courageous victims that faced their fears and told their stories,” she tweeted Sunday.

Brown was actually scheduled to interview another one of Epstein’s accusers on Monday. Instead, she cancelled that flight and booked a ticket to New York. She’ll be in court on Monday when Epstein has a bail hearing.

“There are some women who now feel they need to come forward. I hope that more do. It takes a lot of courage, understandably,” Brown told me on “Reliable Sources” Sunday morning. “This happened to them a long time ago, and many of them feel ashamed.”

This is another key point Brown made: “What I tried to do, since the story ran and got all that attention, was to keep hounding away at the story. I didn’t give up on it. You know, it’s sometimes easy to walk away and just let things happen. But I just felt that I had to keep pursuing it, and not let the powers-that-be, so to speak, the law enforcement people, the people in government, forget that these women were out there. And they’re talking and they want to tell their story and they want justice.”

In summary: “I think the hardest part sometimes of an investigation is to keep going at it, keep pecking away at it.”

Herald editor Aminda Marqués González told me: “Julie’s investigative series continues a tradition of award-winning journalism at the Herald that holds the powerful to account and demonstrates the phenomenal power of local journalism.”

In November, the Miami Herald reported that when Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta was a US attorney in Florida, he gave Epstein the “deal of a lifetime.” In a sweeping review of the politically connected billionaire’s case, the Herald explained how Acosta had made an agreement with Epstein to avoid major repercussions for the hedge fund manager, even though a federal investigation had identified 36 underage victims.

What’s next

— Will there be political fallout? Beast editor in chief Noah Shachtman tweeted: “I’m seeing lots of folks on the left and the right who seem absolutely sure that Epstein is going to give up their political enemies. Hot tip: he’s just as likely to give up your allies.”

— What will Epstein/his lawyers say? They’ve been silent.

— Will Epstein be freed on bail?

— Will we find out what prompted the timing of Saturday’s arrest? CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz tweeted: “This arrest was not supposed to go down yesterday. The initial plan was Monday arrest then unsealing and court…”

— “In an announcement planned for Monday, the FBI is expected to provide a number for other victims to contact the SDNY,” the Beast reports.