At a bail hearing on Thursday at the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied bail for convicted sexual predator and wealthy hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein, who has been charged with ex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy, NBC News reports.
Epstein will remain in prison until his trial begins. Judge Berman was reportedly swayed by prosecutors, who argued that Epstein posed a flight risk. During a search of Epstein’s million dollar home in Manhattan, prosecutors noted, agents reportedly uncovered $70,000 cash, 48 loose diamonds and a Saudi Arabian passport with a photo of Epstein and a fake name. “I don’t think any bail package overcomes the danger to others,” he said.
Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport after flying in from Paris. Prosecutors allege that between 2002 and 2005, Epstein sexually abused “dozens” of girls as young as 14 at his opulent Manhattan townhouse and at his Palm Beach mansion. He is alleged to have paid girls to give him semi-nude massages, as well as a number of other sex acts, and paid them to recruit other girls to visit his home.
A search of his Manhattan home by federal authorities also yielded “hundreds, if not thousands” of images of young-looking women and girls on CD-ROMS in a safe in his home, though it is not clear whether the women in the photos were underage or if Epstein will face additional child pornography possession charges. Epstein’s legal team has not yet responded to repeated requests for comment from Rolling Stone.
This is not the first time Epstein has faced criminal charges. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from girls as young as 14 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, ultimately serving only 13 months, much of which was served from the confines of his Palm Beach office under supervised work release. Last week, the state attorney who approved the deal, Alexander Acosta, resigned from his current post as U.S. labor secretary in the Trump administration following months of intense public criticism.
In court filings last week, Epstein’s defense team argued that the hedge fund manager and philanthropist was not a threat to the community, citing his “spotless” record “of walking the straight and narrow” since he initially pleaded guilty to the Florida charges. Epstein’s defense team also pointed out that he had complied with the “onerous requirements” of registering as a sex offender, which was part of the terms of his agreement.
In response, federal prosecutors claimed that Epstein had the financial resources and wherewithal to flee the country prior to trial, citing his enormous wealth and access to private jets, as well as his connections abroad. Prosecutors also claim that Epstein has a history of intimidating accusers, saying in a court filing on Friday that Epstein made $350,000 payments to two separate potential co-conspirators following the 2018 publication of an explosive Miami Herald article outlining sexual abuse allegations against him. Prosecutors argued that such payments were clearly intended to dissuade the recipients from testifying against Epstein at trial.
Prosecutors also alleged, based on police reports and interviews with accusers’ attorneys, that Epstein had previously hired private investigators to intimidate accusers and witnesses, citing one instance in which a man believed to be a private investigator almost drove an accuser’s parent’s car off the road. Epstein’s attorney Reid Weingarten has denied these claims.
Epstein has pled not guilty to charges of sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy and is currently being held at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan. If convicted, he faces 45 years in prison.