Judge denies Jeffrey Epstein bail in child sex trafficking case, citing ‘danger’ to public
18th July 2019
Posted by: Hakeem
Category: Funding trends
A federal judge denied bail to wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein, citing the potential danger he poses to the public and the risk that Epstein will flee to avoid prosecution for child sex trafficking charges.
Epstein, 66, was asking a judge to release him on a bond of as high as $100 million or more, with conditions that would include requiring him to remain in his New York City mansion, round-the-clock security monitoring and an electronic trafficking device.
Epstein, a former friend of presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was arrested July 6 after a federal grand jury indicted him on a charge of sex trafficking, and one count of conspiring to commit sex trafficking.
Artist: Christine Cornell
Courtroom sketch showing Jeffrey Epstein at his bail hearing in New York on July 15th, 2019.
A federal judge on Thursday denied bail to wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein, citing the potential danger he poses to the public and the risk that Epstein will flee to avoid prosecution for child sex trafficking charges.
The decision by Judge Richard Berman means that the 66-year-old Epstein will remain in jail pending trial in the case, where he faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
“I doubt any bail package could overcome dangerousness …. to community,” Berman said during a hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, agreeing with the recommendation by prosecutors to keep Epstein locked up.
Berman said that risk was “the heart of this decision” to deny the financier release on bond.
He noted that two women who claim they were abused by Epstein gave “compelling testimony” at a court hearing on Monday, where they had expressed “fear for their safety.”
The judge also called Epstein’s proposal for bail “irretrievably inadequate.”
Epstein had also suggested strict bail conditions, which could include requiring him to remain in his New York City mansion, round-the-clock security monitoring and an electronic trafficking device.
But Berman said that prosecutors had established that Epstein could be dangerous by “clear and convincing evidence,” and had shown by a “preponderance” of evidence that he could flee.
The judge noted that Epstein’s “great wealth and his vast resources,” which include private planes and a residence in Paris, France.
And Berman said Epstein’s possession of a passport issued by the country of Austria worried him.
That expired passport has Epstein’s photo but a different name on it, as well as stated residence in Saudi Arabia. It was used in the 1980s for travel, according to prosecutors.
Berman’s decision additionally noted that Epstein recently made payments to potential witnesses against him, that there have been allegations that Epstein failed to comply with requirements for registered sex offenders, and that agents of his intimidated witnesses in a prior investigation.
And Berman cited other “items seized” from Epstein’s Manhattan mansion the day he was arrested beyond the suspicious passport, which included a trove of “sexually explicit photos,” $70,000 in cash and dozens of diamonds.
At least one of the women in the photos has been identified as someone who was underage at the time the pictures were taken, according to prosecutors.
Sigrid McCawley, a lawyer for some of Epstein’s alleged victims, said outside the courthouse that she was “thrilled with the judge’s decision.”
“Only by taking away Jeffrey Epstein’s freedom can we ensure the freedom of these victims,” McCawley said.
It’s “a wonderful day for the victims,” she added. “It was the right thing to do and I’m happy that he did it.”
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services | Handout | Reuters
U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ sex offender registry March 28, 2017 and obtained by Reuters July 10, 2019. New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Handout via REUTERS.