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The Latest: Lawmaker wants probe of Epstein’s work release

July 23, 2019
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, second from right, listens along with defense attorneys, from left, Marc Fernich, Michael Miller, and Martin Weinberg as Judge Richard M. Berman denies him bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)
In this courtroom sketch, defendant Jeffrey Epstein, second from right, listens along with defense attorneys, from left, Marc Fernich, Michael Miller, and Martin Weinberg as Judge Richard M. Berman denies him bail during a hearing in federal court, Thursday, July 18, 2019 in New York. Judge Berman denied bail for the jailed financier on sex trafficking charges, saying the danger to the community that would result if the jet-setting defendant was free formed the "heart of this decision." (Aggie Kenny via AP)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on sex trafficking charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein (all times local):

11 a.m.

A Florida state senator is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to authorize a state investigation into the circumstances of financier Jeffrey Epstein’s ability to leave jail on work release.

Democratic Sen. Lauren Book said in a letter Tuesday that the Republican governor should authorize a Florida Department of Law Enforcement probe into the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff has announced an internal investigation into Epstein’s time at the county jail.

Epstein was allowed out on work release 12 hours a day, six days a week, while completing a 13-month sentence on prostitution-related charges involving underage girls. That came in a 2008 plea deal that included a non-prosecution agreement on federal charges.

Epstein now faces federal sex trafficking charges in New York and has pleaded not guilty.

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10:10 a.m.

Lawyers for financier Jeffrey Epstein are appealing a judge’s decision to keep him behind bars until a trial on sex trafficking charges.

The notice of appeal, dated Monday, was publicly filed Tuesday into the Manhattan federal court record.

Epstein wants the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse Judge Richard Berman’s conclusion that he is a danger to the community and a flight risk.

Epstein was arrested July 6 on federal charges. Berman cited his extraordinary wealth and overseas connections among the reasons he denied bail. But he said the main reason was the danger his freedom would pose to past victims and potential future ones.

Lawyers for Epstein say he has stayed clean since pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution charges in Florida in 2008 and is being unfairly targeted.

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