- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2019

A federal judge on Thursday ordered billionaire Jeffrey Epstein to remain locked up ahead of his trial on sex trafficking charges, denying the defendant bail and saying he posed a danger to the community if he were out free.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said he viewed Epstein as a flight risk after prosecutors said the defendant was found to have cash and a foreign passport bearing Mr. Epstein’s photograph but a different name.

Two of Mr. Epstein’s accusers also testified earlier this week, saying they feared for their safety if he was let out on bail.

“I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community,” Judge Berman said.

Mr. Epstein’s attorneys had argued the 66-year-old won’t flee and should be placed under house arrest, noting he’d pledge $559 million as collateral.

They said the foreign passport was given to their client in case he needed a non-Jewish name while traveling overseas for safety reasons, but he had never used it.

Mr. Epstein showed no reaction when the judge denied bail, according to NBC News. His lawyers are reportedly exploring their options including possible appeals.

Mr. Epstein was arrested July 6 in New Jersey on charges that he sex trafficked dozens of girls in Florida and New York in the early 2000s. According to reports, federal agents found hundreds of sexually explicit photographs in Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan residence, some of which featured underage girls.

He has pleaded not guilty and faces up to 45 years in prison.

Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida back in 2008, which allowed him to escape federal prosecution at the time.

In exchange for the 2008 deal, Mr. Epstein paid restitution, registered as a sex offender and served 13 months in jail under a work-release agreement, which allowed him to go to his office six days a week.

Former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who came under scrutiny for the plea deal, resigned last week. Mr. Acosta was the U.S. attorney at the time of Mr. Epstein’s 2008 conviction who helped broker the favorable arrangement for the financier. Mr. Epstein was accused of molesting more than three dozen girls.

The defense attorneys claim Mr. Epstein was clean since his guilty plea more than a decade ago.

An attorney for the victims said the judge’s decision to keep Mr. Epstein behind bars could help even more victims come forward, who may now not be afraid to tell their stories.

• This article was based in part on wire service reports.


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