Agreement ordered unsealed in billionaire sex case

By Chuck Weber email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-A judge has ordered a confidential agreement unsealed in the case of Palm Beach billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The question is: when will it be unsealed?

Last year in state court, Epstein took a plea deal. He got a sentence of a year and a half, for soliciting an underage girl for prostitution. At that hearing, the judge sealed an agreement Epstein earlier struck with federal prosecutors.

But recently lawyers for young women suing Epstein, and attorneys for the Palm Beach Post, argued the document was improperly sealed.

Thursday a different judge, Jeffrey Colbath, agreed, and ordered the agreement open to public view. He tentatively set Monday for release of a redacted document.

But immediately in the courtroom, Epstein's lawyers moved to have the order put on hold, indicating their intention to appeal the judge's ruling. Now another hearing is set for Friday morning.

"It's the beginning of justice for the girls," said Brad Edwards, an attorney for three woman with lawsuits against Epstein. Edwards says he's pleased with the judge's decision to unseal the document, and not surprised at the moves by Epstein's lawyers. "Any chance they get to stall the process in any way or to keep this agreement out of public disclosure, they're taking it."

Jack Goldberger, Epstein's criminal defense lawyer, said of the judge's ruling, "I think he took a very, very narrow view of it, and said procedure was not followed. However the more important issue is about the secrecy of grand jury proceedings."

Epstein is serving his sentence at the Palm Beach County Stockade, and is now set to be released July 22. That means he will serve just over a year of the year and a half sentence. Most of that time, Epstein has been on work release, allowing to leave the facility during the day.