Judge Keeps Jeffrey Epstein in Jail on Sex Charges

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Photo courtesy palm beach police department via flickr

Financier Jeffrey Epstein will remain behind bars pending resolution of sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against him, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled on Thursday, the New York Times reports.

Epstein pleaded not guilty on July 8, two days after he was arrested on arrival at New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport in his private plane from Paris. Epstein is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Brooklyn. Prosecutors urged Berman to keep him there, saying he could use his vast wealth and connections to flee the U.S.

In a summary of his finances submitted to the court, Epstein said he had a net worth of $559 million, with assets including his jet, four homes and two private islands. He asked to be allowed to be placed on house arrest, and offered to pay for private armed guards in his New York City home, which is valued at $77 million, Reuters reports.

Berman expressed skepticism of Epstein’s offer, noting that many defendants are held in jail because they “can’t make the $500 or $1,000 bail.”

In 2016, the judge rejected a similar bail proposal from Turkish-Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab to let him live in an apartment under the watch of privately funded guards, saying wealthy defendants should not be allowed to “buy their way out of prison by constructing their own private jail.”

Epstein is accused of arranging for girls under  18 to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts, and of paying some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said that a search of his New York home turned up hundreds or thousands of pictures of nude women, some of them minors, along with cash, diamonds and valuable art.

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