The judge in Jeffrey Epstein's trial has ruled on his bail hearing, and Jeff is absolutely staying in jail.
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, a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, had asked Berman to release him on a bond of as high as $100 million or more.
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.
The odds of Epstein fleeing the country were about as close to 100% as it could get. The guy had a second fake passport ready to go, quite literally. Like I said before, he'd end up in a no-extradition country within 24 hours.
Judge Berman made the right call here, no doubt.
Meanwhile, Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman sets the table for the discovery phase of the Jeffrey Epstein mess, with hundreds of pages of documents and dozens of very well-connected people holding their collective breath.
The Jeffrey Epstein case is an asteroid poised to strike the elite world in which he moved. No one can yet say precisely how large it is. But as the number of women who’ve accused the financier (at least, that’s what he claimed to be) of sexual assault grows to grotesque levels—there are said to be more than 50 women who are potential victims—a wave of panic is rippling through Manhattan, DC, and Palm Beach, as Epstein’s former friends and associates rush to distance themselves, while gossiping about who might be ensnared. Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, architect of the original 2007 non-prosecution agreement that let Epstein off with a wrist slap, has already been forced to resign.
The questions about Epstein are metastasizing much faster than they can be answered: Who knew what about Epstein’s alleged abuse? How, and from whom, did Epstein get his supposed $500 million fortune? Why did Acosta grant Epstein an outrageously lenient non-prosecution agreement? (And what does it mean that Acosta was reportedly told Epstein “belonged to intelligence”?) But among the most pressing queries is which other famous people might be exposed for committing sex crimes. “There were other business associates of Mr. Epstein’s who engaged in improper sexual misconduct at one or more of his homes. We do know that,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Courtney Wild, one of the Epstein accusers who gave emotional testimony at Epstein’s bail hearing. “In due time the names are going to start coming out.” (Attorneys for Epstein did not respond to a request for comment.)
Likely within days, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit will release almost 2,000 pages of documents that could reveal sexual abuse by “numerous prominent American politicians, powerful business executives, foreign presidents, a well-known prime minister, and other world leaders,” according to the three-judge panel's ruling. The documents were filed during a civil defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a former Mar-a-Lago locker-room attendant, against Epstein’s former girlfriend and alleged madam, Ghislaine Maxwell.“Nobody who was around Epstein a lot is going to have an easy time now. It’s all going to come out,” said Giuffre’s lawyer David Boies. Another person involved with litigation against Epstein told me: “It’s going to be staggering, the amount of names. It’s going to be contagion numbers.”
I have serious doubts over this case affecting politics the way Harvey Weinstein's fall affected Hollywood, but if a lot of obnoxious people with ten- or eleven-digit net worths get rounded up for child molestation, I won't lose a wink of sleep.
Of course, if Donald Trump isn't getting a wink of sleep because of this, well I'm not going to feel bad either.