US federal judge denies bail for financier Jeffrey Epstein

World Today

The American multi-millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has been denied bail by a judge in New York.

It means he’ll stay behind bars until his trial for sex trafficking begins.

CGTN’s John Terrett reports.

On Monday, Federal District Judge Richard Berman heard appeals from some of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged victims, calling on the judge not to let the Wall Street financier out on bail ahead of his trial for sex trafficking involving girls as young as fourteen.

On Thursday Judge Berman gave his decision – Epstein will stay in prison.

Jeffrey Epstein is a well-known Wall Street financier. Allegations of sexual misconduct have surrounded him for years.

In 2008, he cut a deal with federal prosecutors in the southern state of Florida that shielded him from federal prosecution though he pleaded guilty to two state charges, serving around one year in jail and registering as a sex offender.

According to The Washington Post, “The case drew significant attention because in 2008, the jet-setting financier was able to resolve similar allegations by pleading guilty to just two state charges.”

The attorney behind that deal a decade ago was Alexander Acosta-the then U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and later President Trump’s Labor Secretary until he resigned last week.

This is the Manhattan mansion where Epstein is said to have preyed on some of his victims. Police said photos depicting underage girls were found here on the day of his arrest along with, quote, “piles of cash,” diamonds and a fake passport.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “During a search of Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan mansion, federal agents found a locked safe that contained “piles of cash,” dozens of diamonds and an expired foreign passport issued in the 1980s that listed Saudi Arabia as Mr. Epstein’s residence, prosecutors said Monday.”

Federal prosecutors also accuse Epstein of witness tampering, paying $350,000 to witnesses who may be called to testify against him in his upcoming federal trial.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Federal prosecutors in New York accused financier Jeffrey Epstein of witness tampering in a new court filing Friday, citing financial records that allegedly show efforts by Mr. Epstein last year to pay $350,000 to two of his associates who may testify against him.”

Epstein, whose past includes links to President Trump and former President Clinton, ran with the rich and famous of Wall Street and corporate America. Until just this week he was seen by many as an example of how well-off, powerful men can apparently evade accountability.

Outside the courthouse, lawyers for Epstein’s victims praised the judge for his courage.

“We’re thrilled today with the ruling by Judge Berman and we thank Alex Ross Miller and his entire team for the hard work that they put in to get to this place,” Sigrid McCawley, the attorney representing Epstein’s accusers said.

“Look, all I’ve got to say is we haven’t read the court’s opinion. We haven’t reviewed it. I don’t know if it’s issued yet. When we do, we will seriously contemplate an appeal to the second circuit,” Martin Weinberg, Epstein’s attorney, said.

Advocates for survivors of sex trafficking and abuse said Epstein needed to be treated like any less- wealthy person charged with such crimes.

“Think about what it would mean for him to potentially be at large and able to commit these same atrocities.” Ariel Zwang, CEO Safe Horizon, said.

Epstein’s lawyers had offered to pay a bond of up to $100 million and confine their client to house arrest at his $77 million Manhattan mansion surrounded by private security guards to stop him escaping overseas. But the judge wasn’t having any of it. Epstein will stay behind bars until his trial gets underway. If convicted he could be in jail for the rest of his life.