Jeffrey Epstein was denied bail on Thursday in a blistering decision from Judge Richard Berman, who noted in his official filing how ‘strong’ the evidence is in the case.
There were a number of factors at play for Judge Berman, who cited Epstein’s wealth, his past threats against victims and their families, his history of payoffs to buy the silence of individuals connected to his previous court case and the testimony of two woman in his court room earlier this week.
Ultimately though, Judge Berman decided to keep Epstein detained at the Metropolitan Correctional Center because the community is safer with the pedophile behind bars.
‘The Court begins with “dangerousness” because that concept is at the heart of this case,’ wrote Judge Berman.
‘It finds that the Government has shown by clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Epstein threatens the safety of another person and of the community.’
Away he goes: Jeffrey Epstein was denied bail on Thursday in federal court (sketch above of Epstein in court Friday)
Bail fail: Martin Weinberg (above), the lead defense attorney for Jeffrey Epstein, leaves federal court in New York after a judge denied bail to his client
New kids on the block: Epstein’s new lawyers including James Brochin (right) leave court on Friday
A good portion of the decision referred to the testimony of two victims in court on Monday.
‘Victims have “specifically conveyed” to the Government that any form of release of the Defendant, including home detention with full-time private guards, could “result in [their] harassment and abuse,”‘ wrote Judge Berman.
‘At the bail hearing on July 15, 2019, two victims movingly testified about their past sexual encounters with Mr. Epstein when they were minors aged 14 and 16, respectively.’
He went on to state that Epstein would likely recommit the same crimes he stands accused of given his behavior in the past.
‘At the remand/release hearing on Monday, July 15, 2019, as noted, the Court heard poignant testimony from two of Mr. Epstein’s alleged victims about their fears and anxiety over his potential release, even if under strict conditions of home confinement,’ he noted.
‘The Court is also concerned for new victims. Mr. Epstein’s alleged excessive attraction to sexual conduct with or in the presence of minor girls – which is said to include his soliciting and receiving massages from young girls and young women perhaps as many as four times a day – appears likely to be uncontrollable.’
He also said that the defense could not back up its assertions that Epstein would never assault or abuse a minor if released to his $77 million mansion.
‘Accordingly, Mr. Epstein’s past sexual conduct is not likely to have abated or been successfully suppressed by fierce determination, as his Defense Counsel suggests,’ said Judge Berman.
‘Defense Counsel contends that: “[H]e wasn’t a predator that couldn’t control his conduct. He disciplined himself.”‘
As an example, the decision stated: ‘Despite having been convicted of the above mentioned (two) Florida sex crimes (in 2008) involving an underage girl, Mr. Epstein, as noted, maintained at his New York residence a “vast trove” of sexually suggestive photographs of nude underage and adult girls.’
Judge Berman later noted the age of the victims in denouncing the defendant’s alleged offenses by stating ‘the crimes Mr. Epstein has been charged with are among the most heinous in the law principally, in the Court’s view, because they involve minor girls.’
Much was also made of past reports he paid off victims to buy their silence and in other cases went after people, citing a Palm Beach police report in which one minor recalled being told: ‘Those who help [Mr. Epstein] will be compensated and those who hurt [Mr. Epstein] will be dealt with.’
From there, Judge Berman goes on to explain the many reasons why he finds the defense’s bail package inadequate and the risk of Epstein fleeing the country very real.
‘The Court finds that the Government has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that, among other things, the Defendant’s limited family ties to the United States, his residence in Paris, his extensive overseas travel, his significant wealth and his substantial resources (including private planes), and the potential 45 year term of imprisonment that may be imposed should there be a conviction in this case, provide incentive, motive and wherewithal to flee,’ wrote Judge Berman.
The decision also comes after two court filings submitted by Epstein’s legal team were shown to have false or misleading information.
On Tuesday, Epstein’s defense team appeared to be throwing down the gauntlet when they declared prosecutors had no proof Epstein had ever used an official Austrian passport with his photo and an assumed name that was found in a safe at his $77 million mansion.
‘He never used the document to travel internationally and never presented it to any immigration or customs authority,’ claimed attorney Marc French.
One day later, prosecutors filed their own letter which not only denied that claim, but also listed the specific countries where Epstein, 66, had used the passport.
That was preceded by concerns over the financial records that had been handed over to the court, with the very wealthy businessman providing a one-page summary of his $560 million fortune.
The Miami Herald revealed on Friday however that newly uncovered documents show at least two offshore accounts, one with more than $880,507 and another that had $3.46 million at one point.
These accounts could have been included in Epstein’s summary, but there is now way of knowing due to the lack of detail provided in his submission.
Lawyers from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed a the legal equivalent of a clapback in court on Wednesday.
In its filing after a bail hearing in the case, the defense team stated: ‘[A]s for the Austrian passport the government trumpets, it expired 32 years ago. And the government offers nothing to suggest—and certainly no evidence—that Epstein ever used it.’
That very strong comment was very swiftly shot down though on Wednesday, when prosecutors fired off a letter to the judge stating: ‘In fact, the passport contains numerous ingress and egress stamps, including stamps that reflect use of the passport to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s.’
The letter then points out that Epstein has once again not complied with the court’s request.
‘The Government further notes that the defendant’s submission does not address how the defendant obtained the foreign passport and, more concerning, the defendant has still not disclosed to the Court whether he is a citizen or legal permanent resident of a country other than the United States,’ states the letter.
Epstein obtained a passport from Austria in the 1980s ‘for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnappers, hijackers and terrorists’ said his defense team on Tuesday.
That was stated in response to the revelation just one day prior that the passport had been found in a safe at Epstein’s home by agents on the same night he was arrested at Teterboro Airport.
Epstein’s attorney states that his client is an ‘affluent member of the Jewish faith’ and for that reason acquired the falsified document at a time ‘when hijackings were prevalent, in connection to Middle East travel.’
A filing by prosecutors meanwhile detailed just what was found in Epstein’s safe, and makes the moneyman sound a bit like Scrooge McDuck as he sits on a pile of gems and cash.
The attorneys for one of Epstein’s victim (Sigrid McCawley and Stan Pottinger above)outside court
‘After conferring with law enforcement agents who have reviewed the materials from the safe, the Government has learned that the safe contained more than $70,000 in cash,’ reads the filing by prosecutors.
‘In addition, the safe contained 48 loose diamond stones, ranging in size from approximately 1 carat to 2.38 carats, as well as a large diamond ring.’
It is then note: ‘The Government is currently unaware of whether the defendant maintains similar stashes of cash and/or jewels at his multiple properties, or in other locations. Such ready cash and loose diamonds are consistent with the capability to leave the jurisdiction at a moment’s notice.’
Epstein’s legal team pleaded with the judge to let the disgraced businessman out of jail and said he is in solitary confinement.
‘We need him released, judge. This is an enormously challenging case for defense counsel,’ argued Epstein’s lawyer.
In their rebuttal, prosecutors said: ‘Your honor, it’s underage girls that are involved in this case, and it’s underage girls that are the victims.’
Rossmiller also noted that Epstein’s finances remain a mystery, something Judge Berman pointed out at the start of the proceedings as well while demanding a more compete accounting of the pedophile’s assets.
Federal prosecutors said on Monday that they just recently learned about more hidden assets following the search of Epstein’s home.
Those assets were in diamonds and art, which were discovered throughout he residence according to Rossmiller.
There were also ‘piles of cash’ found tucked away in Epstein’s safe.
‘How much money does he have? Where is it?’ asked Rossmiller in court.
‘How much of it is in diamonds or art?’
On guard: A U.S. Marshall stands in front of the Southern District of New York federal courthouse
Caribbean queen: Epstein, 66, at least two offshore accounts, one with more than $880,507 and another that had $3.46 million at one point new documents reveal (Epstein’s island Little St James above)
Wild said Epstein is a ‘scary person’ and urged the judge to keep him behind bars for the ‘safety of any other girls’
Statements of fact: Prosecutors said that Epstein had sizable assets in diamonds and art which they discovered throughout his Manhattan mansion, and ‘piles of cash’
Moneyman: The financial documents filed in court by Epstein earlier this week (above)
The defense also tried to mitigate Epstein’s payment of $350,000 to two individuals after the Miami Herald exposé was first published last November.
His lawyers stated: ;The payment of an employee and the payment of a friend is not ‘witness tampering’ because the Miami Herald wrote an article.”
Defense attorney Martin Weinberg told Judge Berman that his client ‘would sign any bond’ or hand over ‘any collateral’ in order to ‘virtually guarantee’ all future appearances in court.
‘[Bernie] Madoff was released on bail. He surrendered,’ pointed out Weinberg.
Epstein, unlike Madoff, has a home in a foreign country and is not facing financial ruin. He has also been accused of sex crimes, while Madoff was solely convicted of financial crimes.
Epstein has spent every night since his arrest on Saturday July 6 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan, where his new roommates include Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Federal prosecutors are hoping to keep him locked up at the facility ahead of his trial after charging the previously convicted pedophile with two counts of sex trafficking minors.
His defense team will keep trying to get him released, citing the previous non-prosecution agreement he signed as part of a 2008 plea deal in Palm Beach.
Lawyers for Epstein also claim that his previous accusers and the alleged underage victims he is charged with trafficking were prostitutes.
There were 49 accusers in that previous Palm Beach case according to a deposition of Epstein that was taken by one of the victim’s lawyers and obtained by DailyMail.com.
SEX TRAFFICKING & CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT SEX TRAFFICKING
Sex Trafficking of Minors (maximum sentence of 40 years in prison)
This refers to any recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act.
Offenders of this crime often target vulnerable children and gain control over them using a variety of manipulative methods.
Those offenders now have more channels to carry out these crimes with the advent of the Internet and mobile technology, and as a result are harder to apprehend in most cases.
In Epstein’s case, he was with an employee in New York who he allegedly instructed to contact a minor in Palm Beach to set up a meeting between the two.
This happened at least two times with two different employees and two different minors according to the indictment.
Conspiracy to Sex Traffic Minor (maximum sentence of five years in prison)
This refers to enticing a minor for the purpose of a commercial sex act.
In Epstein’s case, he allegedly contacted the minor victim in New York and set up a meeting at his mansion during which a commercial sex act took place.
An Epstein employee was also involved in scheduling that meeting.
A few of those women sat in court to witness the proceedings on Monday, 14 years after police in Palm Beach first began investigating Epstein for sexual battery.
Epstein’s lawyers informed Judge Berman last week that their client would agree to house arrest at his Manhattan mansion if released on bail ahead of his trial.
That was one of 14 conditions spelled out in the letter, which the defense was ordered to submit ahead of Judge Berman’s ruling on Monday.
Epstein’s lawyers said that their client would install surveillance cameras inside and outside the mansion, wear electronic monitoring with a global positioning system,’ and have no one ‘enter the residence, other than Mr. Epstein and his attorneys.’
There was no mention of whom he could contact on his phone however, and while he agreed to a bond it has long been difficult to assess his net worth.
The lawyers stated that the bond would be in ‘an amount set by the court after reviewing additional information regarding Mr. Epstein’s finances, which Mr. Epstein will seek the court’s permission to provide via sealed supplemental disclosure.’
It was also noted: ‘Mr. Epstein stands ready and willing to pay for 24-hour armed guards should the Court deem it necessary or appropriate.’
Epstein would report daily to pretrial services on the phone, have a trustee or trustees move into his mansion to monitor him and deregister all vehicles and ground his jet.
‘In essence, the government seeks to remand a self-made New York native and lifelong American resident based on dated allegations for which he was already convicted and punished – conduct the re-litigation of which is barred by a prior federal non-prosecution agreement,’ wrote Epstein’s lawyer Reid Weingarten in his submission.
‘The government makes this drastic demand even though Mr. Epstein has never once attempted to flee the United States – despite a Florida federal judge’s stated belief that he could void the NPA in appropriate circumstances, possibly threatening new charges there, and notwithstanding legally erroneous government assertions in ancillary litigation that Mr. Epstein was subject to potential prosecution in other federal judicial districts, including this one specifically.’
The letter also praises Epstein’s rise to riches from humble beginnings, while stressing his inability to speak any foreign languages.
‘Mr. Epstein, 66, is a U.S. citizen who’s lived his entire life in this country. Born and bred in Coney Island, he worked his way up from humble origins – his father was a New York City municipal employee in the Parks Department – and earned every penny he’s made with nothing more than a high school diploma,’ stated Weingarten at one point.
‘He speaks only English and knows no other languages. He owns no foreign businesses and holds no foreign bank accounts. Five of the six residences he maintains are located here in America. His brother, niece, and nephew all live here too.’
The federal court filing also references Epstein’s status as a sex offender in the Virgin Islands, where he has received the lowest assignation, as opposed to the state of New York, where he is at the highest level.
‘The defense respectfully suggests that Mr. Epstein’s Virgin Islands designation is more consistent with the circumstances of the actual offenses for which he was convicted, and certainly more consistent with the predictive factor of whether there is a danger of recidivism which the defense contends there is not,’ reads the filing.
Lock him up: Prosecutors want Epstein behind bars ahead of his federal trial, which would not happen until at least next year (excerpt from SDNY bail letter above)
In their response submitted on Friday, prosecutors cited Epstein’s lack of family and wide network of associates as making him a flight risk while arguing for him to remain behind bars.
LABOR SEC. ACOSTA’S EPSTEIN DEAL
Jeffrey Epstein signed a non-prosecution agreement in his previous case, which was overseen by President Trump’s former Secretary of Labor, Alex Acosta.
That agreement is currently at the center of anther court case as the victims who first came forward are trying to have the case retried.
The non-prosecution deal does not extend to the Southern District of New York however, and while the young girls in the indictment were in Palm Beach at the time of the criminal action detailed by prosecutors, the actual crime was happening in New York.
A federal judge recently ruled that the agreement violated the rights of more than 30 victims, but the Department of Justice has stated that the case should not be retried in a court filing.
Acosta, who in his role as US attorney violated the rights of Epstein’s alleged victims when he neglected to notify them that they were no longer pursuing federal charges, stepped down shortly after Epstein’s arrest.
‘The defendant is a serial sexual predator who is charged with abusing underage girls for years. A grand jury has returned an indictment alleging that he sexually exploited dozens of minors, including girls as young as 14 years old, in New York and Florida,’ wrote prosecutors in a letter signed by US Attorney Geoffrey Berman and Assistant US Attorneys Alex Rossmiller, Alison Moe, and Maurene Comey.
‘To this day, he is a registered sex offender designated by New York State in the highest category of risk to reoffend, despite unsuccessfully attempting to have that classification lowered.’
It continued: ‘And any doubt that the defendant is unrepentant and unreformed was eliminated when law enforcement agents discovered hundreds or thousands of nude and seminude photographs of young females in his Manhattan mansion on the night of his arrest, more than a decade after he was first convicted of a sex crime involving a juvenile.’
That filing also addressed Epstein’s defense tactic of pegging the victims in the case as prostitutes.
‘The defense calls these disturbing alleged acts ‘simple prostitution,” read the letter.
‘That characterization is not only offensive but also utterly irrelevant given that federal law does not recognize the concept of a child prostitute—there are only trafficking victims—because a child cannot legally consent to being exploited.’
Epstein entered a not guilty plea to federal charges last Monday just hours after it was revealed that an ‘extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially-nude young women or girls’ was discovered by agents over the weekend during their search of Epstein’s Manhattan mansion.
Federal prosecutors detailed some of the other evidence discovered inside the home in the bail memorandum, which requests that Epstein remain in prison ahead of trial.
That listed ‘documents and other materials, such as contemporaneous notes, messages recovered from the defendant’s residence that include names and contact information for certain victims, and call records that confirm the defendant and his agents were repeatedly in contact with various victims during the charged period. ‘
TIMELINE OF JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S LEGAL TROUBLES
1999-2002 – Virginia Roberts [Jane Doe #3] claims to she served as a ‘sex slave’ for Jeffrey Epstein and was required to engage in sexual activity with him and a number of his high-profile friends.
March 2005 – Authorities in Florida launch a probe into Epstein after a mother calls and alleges that her daughter was molested at his Palm Beach estate.
May 2006 – A probable cause affidavit is filed by the Palm Beach Police Department after the sexual battery investigation into Epstein, Sarah Kellen and Haley Robson Sworn. It charges Epstein with four counts of lewd and lascivious behavior for unlawful sex with a minor. Five victims and seventeen witnesses were interviewed, and alleged that Epstein engaged in unlawful sexual behavior. Sworn meanwhile was accused of profiting by providing young girls to Epstein, while Kellen was tasked with keeping a black book containing the names and contact information of these minors in her capacity as Epstein’s assistant.
May 2006 – Barry Krischer, the State Attorney in Palm Beach, refers the case to a grand jury.
June 2006 – The grand jury returns an indictment of one count of solicitation of prostitution. This charge does not reflect that the individual in question was a minor. Only one girl testifies in front of the grand jury.
July 2006 – The Palm Beach Police Chief grows increasingly annoyed as he watches the lack of progress his investigation is making in the legal system, and convinces the FBI to open a federal investigation. It is dubbed Operation Leap Year and the possible crime being probed is ‘child prostitution.’
November 2006 – Operation Leap Year picks up steam as the FBI begins interviewing potential witnesses and victims from the three states where Epstein owns property: Florida, New York and New Mexico.
June 2007 – The US Attorney’s Office drafts a lengthy indictment as the federal probe of Epstein comes to an end, while at the same time Epstein begins negotiating a possible plea deal.
July 2007 – A new set of grand jury subpoenas are issued, including ones for Epstein’s computers. When police go to execute those subpoenas at Epstein’s Palm Beach home, they discover they have all been removed.
August 2007 – The US Attorney in Miami at the time, Alex Acosta, joins the Epstein negotiation talks.
September 2007 – Epstein signs a non-prosecution agreement on September 24 after rejecting multiple plea deals. His criminal charges are then deferred to the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
October 2007 – Acosta meets with Epstein’s lawyer Jay Lefkowitz to finalize the terms of the plea deal. It is agreed that the victims would not be notified, the deal would be kept under seal and all grand jury subpoenas would be canceled – including the one for Epstein’s computers, which were still at large.
January 2008 – After months of demands, Epstein and his lawyers say they will not longer accept the plea deal because he forces him to register as a sex offender.
February 2008 – A civil lawsuit is filed against Epstein by an anonymous woman, stating that as a 16-year-old minor she was recruited to give Epstein a paid massage. She demands $50 million, claiming that she was then force to perform sex acts on Epstein.
March 2008 – A federal grand jury presentation is planned following the FBI probe. Lawyers for Epstein begin harassing victims with phone calls and one of his investigators is accused of trying to run a victim’s father off the road.
March 2008 – A second woman files a civil action against Epstein.
May 2008 – It is announced that with no plea deal in case, the federal case against Epstein can proceed.
June 2008 – On June 30, Epstein pleads guilty to one count of solicitation of prostitution and one count of solicitation of prostitution with a minor under the age of 18. Both are state charges and he is sentenced to 18 months in jail. He will also have to register as a sex offender.
July 2008 – Epstein’s victims learn of the plea deal, but it will be another 10 years before they are informed of all the details, including the fact that victim was 16 in the charge to which Epstein entered a guilty plea and not 14 like the women were led to believe. This allowed Epstein to avoid registering as a sex offender in multiple states like New Mexico, where he has a ranch. An emergency petition is filed udner the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, which mandates that victims be informed about plea agreements and the right to appear at sentencing. It is ignored.
August 2008 – Epstein’s agreement cannot be unsealed for the victims to see it is ruled in court, with federal prosecutors fighting to keep the records hidden from the public.
October 2008 – Epstein begins work release from the county stockad, where six days a week an he is transported to an office where he is able to work and entertain visitors. He returns to the stockade in the evening.
December 2008 – A judge grants Epstein’s request to travel to New York for a day and then an extended stay. He says it is for a court case, but after an initial filing there is no follow-up in the case.
July 22, 2009 – Epstein is released from prison.