Jul 18, 2019

Politics | Judge denies Jeffrey Epstein bail in child sex trafficking case, citing 'danger' to public

Dan Mangan,Kevin Breuninger

H/O: Jeffrey Epstein courtroom sketch bail hearing 190715 1
Courtroom sketch showing Jeffrey Epstein at his bail hearing in New York on July 15th, 2019.
Artist: Christine Cornell
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 trial on child sex trafficking charges.
The decision by Judge Richard Berman in U.S. District Court in Manhattan 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, agreeing with the recommendation by prosecutors to keep Epstein locked up.
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 asked Berman 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.
Berman said that prosecutors had established that Epstein could be dangerous by “clear and convincing evidence,” and 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 possesion of a passport issued by the country of Austrian. That passport has Epstein’s photo but a different name on it, and was used in the 1980s for travel to Saudi Arabia.
The judge additionally noted that Epstein recently made payments to potential witnesses against him, and that there have been allegations that Epstein failed to comply with requirements for registered sex offenders, and that agents of his intimidate witnesses in a prior investigation.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
Prosecutors wanted to keep Epstein locked up without bail, calling him a serious flight risk, and a danger to the public. They also have said that in recent months Epstein, who is worth as much as $500 million, had made payments to “co-conspirators who might provide information against him.”
Epstein, a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, was arrested July 6 at a New Jersey airport after a federal grand jury in Manhattan indicted him on a charge of sex trafficking, and conspiring to commit sex trafficking.
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.
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services | Handout | Reuters

Source: CNBC

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