Jeffery Epstein will remain in jail as a federal judge on Thursday denied the financier bail following charges that he ran a sex trafficking operation and sexually abused dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, in his plush New York and Florida homes.
The 66-year-old, known for his wealth and powerful friends, was arrested Saturday after authorities raided his Manhattan townhouse, where they said they seized "a vast trove of lewd photographs" of nude and partially nude young women — some of whom appeared to be underage. This week's charges come more than 10 years after a previous investigation ended in a lenient plea deal in 2008.
Judge Richard Berman said the government had provided “clear and convincing” evidence that Epstein remained a danger to the community, and had offered a “preponderance” of evidence that the wealthy financier — who owns a private house in Paris among his six properties — posed a flight risk.
During a bail hearing for Epstein earlier this week, Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller said authorities found a safe in Epstein's home with cash, diamonds, and a fake foreign passport with the financier's photo in it. The charges, Rossmiller also said, made Epstein a risk to society.
Epstein's lawyer Martin Weinberg argued that Epstein no longer posed a public risk because he had "disciplined himself" since the 2008 plea deal.
As part of his bail petition, Epstein offered to ground his private jet and have a person live with him in his Upper East Side townhouse to ensure he complied with the court order — a suggestion Berman criticized as "irretrievably inadequate."
"I doubt any bail package can overcome danger to the community," Berman said.
On Monday, two women who say Epstein abused them pleaded with Berman to deny Epstein's request for pretrial release.
"I was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein starting at the age of 14," said Courtney Wild, whose lawyer identified her as one of the Jane Does in the original Florida investigation.
"It’s a public case, and he’s a scary person to have walking the streets," Wild said.
Another woman, Annie Farmer, whose lawyer said she had settled a civil lawsuit with Epstein, told the judge she was 16 when she “had the misfortune” of meeting him in New York and that he was “inappropriate” with her.