Julie K. Brown
Julie K. Brown
|Born||1961 (age 58–59)|
|Alma mater||Temple University|
|Awards||George Polk Award, 2014 |
George Polk Award, 2018
Sidney Award, 2019
Julie K. Brown (born 1961/62) is an American investigative journalist with the Miami Herald best known for pursuing the sex trafficking story surrounding Jeffrey Epstein, who in 2008 was allowed to plead guilty to two state-level prostitution offenses. She is the recipient of several awards including two George Polk Awards for Justice Reporting.
Early life and career
Brown was raised near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by a single parent. She left home at 16 and worked in menial jobs before she could afford to attend college. She graduated magna cum laude from Temple University in 1987 with a degree in journalism.
While at the Miami Herald, Brown spent four years investigating patterns of abuse in the Florida prison system. Her reporting work prompted a 2018 federal investigation into civil rights abuses in Lowell Correctional Institution in Central Florida.
Brown has been credited with re-opening the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse case with a series of reports published in November 2018. She began investigating Epstein in early 2017 and persisted in uncovering facts about the large number of accusers and the pressure campaign to silence them. Brown uncovered 80 potential victims (as young as 13 and 14 years old when the abuse occurred) and documented the 8 individuals who agreed to tell their stories. In 2008 Epstein had been allowed to plead guilty to only two state-level prostitution offenses even though sex with underage girls was legally rape. The secret deal that then-US Attorney Alex Acosta struck with Epstein made federal sex trafficking charges disappear, shut down a FBI probe that might have uncovered dozens of victims, and granted immunity to any possible co-conspirators, a clause that allegedly protected powerful men. Her 2018 reporting on the deal and Acosta's role in it sparked criticism of Acosta, who by then had become the United States secretary of labor, and there was pressure for him to resign. He eventually resigned after Epstein was arrested and charged in July 2019. After Epstein was re-arrested, many commentators praised her and the Herald for their reporting. "This is what happens when a reporter refuses to give up on a story," The Columbia Journalism Review wrote on Twitter following Epstein's arrest. Geoffrey Berman, a federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, also commented at a news conference that his team had been “assisted by some excellent investigative journalism.” But she tweeted in response "The Real Heroes Here were the courageous victims that faced their fears and told their stories". Brown’s articles were collected under the title "Perversion of Justice" and resurfaced on social media.
Brown won a 2014 George Polk Award in Justice Reporting from Long Island University for "Cruel and Unusual," her series of articles on "the brutal, sometimes fatal mistreatment of Florida prison inmates with mental illnesses."
Brown received a second George Polk Award in the category of Justice Reporting in 2018 for her investigative journalism on "Perversion of Justice." Her series covered the extensive number of accusers in the Epstein case and the role of federal prosecutor Alex Acosta who permitted a non-prosecution agreement that protected four named conspirators and "granted immunity to any possible co-conspirators, a proviso that seemed to protect the powerful men Epstein partied with."
In April 2019, Alan Dershowitz (an associate of Epstein who was one of his attorneys during his criminal investigation in 2006-2008) tried to pressure the Pulitzer prize committee to shut out Brown and the Miami Herald for her investigative reporting that reopened the Epstein case. In an open letter Dershowitz wrote that Brown should not be rewarded for her work. She was not. At the start of her investigative reporting on Epstein, Brown had been warned by former Police Chief Michael Reiter to expect pushback as other members of the media who attempted to report on Epstein had been reassigned following a phone call to their publisher. Reiter stated “Somebody’s going to call your publisher and the next thing you know you are going to be assigned to the obituaries department.”
In December 2019, Brown and her Miami Herald colleague Emily Michot were jointly recognized for their five-part series "Perversion of Justice," with a Sidney Award, the Hillman Prize for Journalism in the Common Good, from the Sidney Hillman Foundation.
Brown has two children, one daughter and one son.
- Hsu, Tiffany (July 9, 2019). "The Jeffrey Epstein Case Was Cold, Until a Miami Herald Reporter Got Accusers to Talk". The New York Times. Retrieved July 11, 2019.
- "Miami Herald wins December Sidney for Exposing Alex Acosta's Sweetheart Deal with Multimillionaire Sex Offender". Hillman Foundation. December 12, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "George Polk Past Winners | Long Island University". liu.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
- "How the Miami Herald investigated Jeffrey Epstein — and his many enablers". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- "The Miami Herald's latest investigation 'pulls the sewer lid' off a 10-year-old story". Poynter. November 28, 2018. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
- Cristobal, Sara (July 26, 2019). "In Conversation with Julie K. Brown and Jane Mayer, Two Reporters Exposing Corruption All the Way to the Top". InStyle. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
- Brown, Julie K. (August 8, 2018). "Feds to probe sexual extortion, other abuse allegations at Florida women's prison". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
- Brown, Julie K. (November 28, 2019). "How a future Trump Cabinet member gave a serial sex abuser the deal of a lifetime". Miami Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- Brown, Julie K. (November 28, 2018). "Cops worked to put serial sex abuser in prison. Prosecutors worked to cut him a break". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
- Brown, Julie K. (November 28, 2018). "For years, Jeffrey Epstein abused teen girls, police say. A timeline of his case". Miami Herald. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
- Siegel, Tatiana (December 14, 2019). "Julie K. Brown and the Female Collaborator Who Helped Bring Down Jeffrey Epstein". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
- Pilkington, Ed (2019-07-13). "Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-17.
- Block, Valerie (July 12, 2019). "Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid pressure from Jeffrey Epstein sex traffic case". CNBC. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
- Stelter, Brian (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein's arrest shows the power of one newspaper's investigation". CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
- Neal, David J. (February 19, 2019). "Miami Herald's Julie Brown receives Polk Award for 'Perversion of Justice' stories". Miami Herald. Retrieved February 10, 2020.
- Dershowitz, Alan M. (April 3, 2019). "An Open Letter to the Pulitzer Prize Committee: Don't Reward Fake News". Gatestone Institute. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- Bekiempsis, Victoria (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein charged with federal sex trafficking crimes". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- Calderone, Michael (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein prosecutors aided by 'excellent investigative journalism'". Politico. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
- "National Press Club honors Julie K. Brown with investigative journalism award | National Press Club". www.press.org. September 16, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
- "National Press Club honors Voice of America's Amanda Bennett with Fourth Estate Award". JustNewsBD. October 21, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-10.
- 'Potentially hundreds' of victims seek federal prison for Epstein, CNBC February 22, 2019
- As some local news outlets struggle, Julie K. Brown is hopeful non-profits can fill the gaps, The Washington Post live, April 4, 2019
- Appearances on C-SPAN