Two of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage victims in Florida filed a shocking defamation lawsuit Thursday against Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown. Brown’s award-winning investigation into the disgraced financier’s prior sweetheart deal with prosecutors helped trigger Epstein’s 2019 sex trafficking indictment.
Plaintiffs Haley Robson and Courtney Wild claim in their new complaint filed in Miami-Dade County that the celebrated journalist made “false and defamatory” statements about them in her 2021 book Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story.
“Brown falsely stated that Ms. Wild was raped by Epstein and then had sex with Epstein multiple times after the rape. Neither is true,” the paperwork filed by lawyer Jeffrey Gutchess obtained by Rolling Stone states. The suit was first reported by Florida Bulldog.
The lawsuit claims Brown also “specifically and unambiguously minimized” Wild’s role in exposing the injustice done to victims when federal prosecutors cut a deal with Epstein behind closed doors, which allowed him to sidestep a trafficking indictment in 2007 and instead plead guilty to lesser charges of solicitation in state court.
Regarding Robson, the lawsuit claims Brown issued an ominous threat when the former teen victim declined to sit for an interview for the book, saying the refusal would be the “biggest mistake of your life.”
“Fulfilling her threat, Brown then portrayed Robson not as the teenage victim she was, no different than dozens of other victims, but rather as a mini-Ghislaine Maxwell and a member of Epstein’s inner circle, despite knowing that to be a false narrative,” the filing states.
Maxwell is the longtime Epstein confidante recently convicted in New York of grooming underage girls for the now-deceased pedophile.
“(Brown) wrote repeatedly that Robson was ‘working’ for Epstein, that Robson viewed Epstein as her ‘boss’ and was a member of Epstein’s inner circle of associates who was ‘giddy with excitement’ to participate in his scheme,” the lawsuit states.
“Brown knew that these statements about Ms. Wild and Ms. Robson were false and defamatory when she published them in Perversion of Justice, based on her previous on-the-record interview with Ms. Wild and off-the-record interview with Ms. Robson, and based on her investigation and research for her book as well as for her newspaper article,” according to the complaint.
Brown did not comment.
“It’s important to understand who these women are as people. They were teenagers who were young and vulnerable at the time they were exploited by a powerful man. Then their treatment at hands of government officials with the plea deal was also traumatizing. They’ve been through a lot through this whole process,” Gutchess tells Rolling Stone. “They’re strong individuals, but they’ve struggled. So to go through that emotional trauma for so many years and then have a prominent author and journalist write a book that characterizes them this way, it’s one more punch in the gut. And it’s continuing to harm them. When people in the community read the book, or when their children read it, the taunting and tormenting continues. That’s why this is so horrifying to these young women.”
The new lawsuit seeks “an order requiring Julie Brown to issue a public statement of apology” and both compensatory and punitive damages.
“Brown’s libelous attacks on these two victims will have lasting effects as both have children and family members who will suffer regular attacks by those in the community who read or hear of these defamatory statements,” the lawsuit claims.