Jeffrey Epstein has been denied bail pending federal sexual abuse charges, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman announced Thursday morning.
Prosecutors labeled Epstein an “extraordinary” flight risk ― he owns several properties and a private plane ― as they urged the judge on Monday to keep him behind bars. Epstein was arrested July 6 on sex trafficking underaged girls and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He has pleaded not guilty.
A lawyer for the multimillionaire financier said Monday that his client was willing to post up to $100 million to secure his release.
“I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community,” Berman said Thursday.
Instead, Epstein will stay for now at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a fortress-like structure in downtown Manhattan that has been criticized by human rights advocates for the conditions of its facilities. One prisoner, who had stayed at both MCC and the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, said Guantanamo was nicer, according to The New York Times.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three of Epstein’s accusers, was pleased with the judge’s call.
“It gives us hope that justice may truly be possible against this sex offender who has hurt so many for so long,” she said in a statement.
Two of Epstein’s accusers, Courtney Wild and Annie Farmer, appeared before Berman on Monday to speak about the trauma they endured.
“I was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein at the age of 14,” Wild said in a statement urging the judge to see how Epstein is “a scary person to have walking the streets.”
Farmer became emotional when she told the judge Epstein had behaved “inappropriately” with her when he flew her at age 16 from New York to New Mexico, where he maintains a ranch linked to alleged sex trafficking. She said she preferred not to go into more detail.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that dozens of new victims and witnesses had spoken to authorities since Epstein’s arrest earlier this month.
Rossmiller also noted on Monday that investigators found “piles of cash,” “dozens of diamonds” and an expired passport with an alias and a Saudi Arabian address from his enormous Manhattan townhome. They also seized many photos of nude girls.
Epstein’s attorneys downplayed the passport, saying it had been expired for more than 30 years and was only meant “for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnappers, hijackers or terrorists should violent episodes occur.”
Prosecutors countered that Epstein appeared to have used the passport, as it reflected entry to France, Spain, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. They also noted that Epstein had not told them how he obtained the passport and whether he is a citizen or legal resident of another country outside of the U.S.
Berman’s decision is a stark departure from the deferential treatment Epstein received in 2008 when he secured a lenient plea deal that led to about a year of half-day jail time. An attorney for some of his victims said Epstein was able to continue to abuse young girls during his sentence.
In a highly controversial move, then-U.S. District Attorney Alex Acosta allowed the plea deal to be initially kept from Epstein’s accusers. (Acosta resigned last week as President Donald Trump’s labor secretary amid public criticism.)
If convicted, Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison.