Julie K. Brown

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Julie K. Brown
Born1961 (age 60–61)
Alma materTemple University
OccupationInvestigative journalist
EmployerMiami Herald
AwardsGeorge 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.[1][2] She is the recipient of several awards including two George Polk Awards for Justice Reporting.[3]

Brown was included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

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.[1]

After college, Brown worked for the Philadelphia Daily News before joining the Miami Herald a daily newspaper owned by the McClatchy Company, around 2000.[1][5][6]

While at the Miami Herald, Brown spent four years investigating patterns of abuse in the Florida prison system.[7] Her reporting work prompted a 2018 federal investigation into civil rights abuses in Lowell Correctional Institution in Central Florida.[8]

Brown has been credited with re-opening the Jeffrey Epstein sexual abuse case with a series of reports published in November 2018.[9][10][11] 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.[12][13] Brown uncovered 80 potential victims (as young as 13 and 14 years old when the abuse occurred) and documented the eight individuals who agreed to tell their stories.[13] In 2008 Epstein had been allowed to plead guilty to only two state-level prostitution offenses, even though sex with underage girls is 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.[2] 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.[14] 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.”[1] But she tweeted in response "The Real Heroes Here were the courageous victims that faced their fears and told their stories".[15] Brown’s articles were collected under the title "Perversion of Justice" and resurfaced on social media.

In July 2020, Brown’s book, Perversion of Justice, based on her reporting on the Epstein case, was published by William Morrow and Company.[16] The book will serve as the foundation for a limited series on HBO to be executive produced by Brown, along with Kevin Messick and Adam McKay.[12]


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."[17][3]

Brown received a second George Polk Award in the category of Justice Reporting in 2018 for her investigative journalism on "Perversion of Justice."[3] 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."[1][3][2]

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.[18][unreliable source?] In an open letter Dershowitz wrote that Brown should not be rewarded for her work. She was not.[19][20] 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.[13] 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.”[13]

Brown received the National Press Club Journalism Institute's 2019 Neil and Susan Sheehan award for investigative journalism in October 2019.[21][22]

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.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Brown has two children, one daughter and one son.[12]


  1. ^ a b c d e 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.
  2. ^ a b c d "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.
  3. ^ a b c d "George Polk Past Winners | Long Island University". liu.edu. Retrieved 2020-02-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ "Julie K. Brown: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved 2020-09-23.
  5. ^ "How the Miami Herald investigated Jeffrey Epstein — and his many enablers". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  6. ^ Hare, Julie (July 8, 2019). "The Miami Herald's latest investigation 'pulls the sewer lid' off a 10-year-old story". Poynter. Retrieved April 9, 2019.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ 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 September 1, 2019.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b c 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.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ a b c d Pilkington, Ed (July 13, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein: how US media – with one star exception – whitewashed the story". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  14. ^ Block, Valerie (July 12, 2019). "Trump Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns amid pressure from Jeffrey Epstein sex traffic case". CNBC. Retrieved July 12, 2019.
  15. ^ Stelter, Brian (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein's arrest shows the power of one newspaper's investigation". CNN. Retrieved July 8, 2019.
  16. ^ Enrich, David (July 13, 2021). "How Jeffrey Epstein Got Away With It". The New York Times. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  17. ^ 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.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ Bekiempsis, Victoria (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein charged with federal sex trafficking crimes". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  20. ^ Calderone, Michael (July 8, 2019). "Jeffrey Epstein prosecutors aided by 'excellent investigative journalism'". Politico. Retrieved 1 September 2019.
  21. ^ "National Press Club honors Julie K. Brown with investigative journalism award | National Press Club". www.press.org. September 16, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "National Press Club honors Voice of America's Amanda Bennett with Fourth Estate Award". JustNewsBD. October 21, 2019. Retrieved 2020-02-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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