• Jeffrey Epstein denied bail by judge in federal sex trafficking case

    By: Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    NEW YORK -

    A federal judge in New York declined Thursday to grant bail to wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein as he awaits trial on allegations of sex trafficking.

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    Update 12 p.m. EDT July 18: Lisa Bloom, the attorney for three of Epstein's accusers, issued a statement after a judge denied Epstein bail.

    "We are pleased that the judge denied bail," Bloom said on Twitter. "It gives us hope that justice may truly be possible against this sex offender who has hurt so many for so long."

    Update 11:35 a.m. EDT July 18: U.S. District Judge Richard Berman has rejected Epstein's bail application, citing danger to others and the community.

    Prosecutors had asked Berman to hold Epstein, 66, without bail, arguing in court on Monday that Epstein is a flight risk and danger to the community who has shown no remorse for victimizing dozens of girls as young as 14 between 2002 and 2005.

    Attorneys for Epstein had argued he poses no flight risk, as evidenced by his conduct since pleading guilty in 2008 to two counts of soliciting a minor for prostitution after he was accused of molesting girls in Palm Beach County, Florida.

    Update 9:50 a.m. EDT July 18: An Austrian passport found by authorities during a search of Epstein's Manhattan mansion included several stamps inside, "including stamps that reflect use of the passport to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s," prosecutors said in a letter filed Thursday in court.

    Authorities said the passport, issued in the 1980s and bearing Epstein's image but not his name, was found July 6 in a safe.

    Attorneys for Epstein claimed in court filings that the Austrian passport had never been used.

    "Epstein -- an affluent member of the Jewish faith -- acquired the passport in the 1980s, when hijackings were prevalent, in connection to Middle East travel," Epstein's attorneys said. "The passport was 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."

    It was not immediately clear how Epstein obtained the passport.

    Update 12:40 p.m. EDT July 15: Two of Epstein's alleged victims on Monday asked Berman not to allow the 66-year-old to be released on bail pending his trial. Both spoke at his bail hearing in New York.

    Courtney Wild said she was 14 years old when Epstein started sexually abusing her in Palm Beach, Florida, according to Courthouse News. She told the court that if Epstein were to be granted bail, he would be "a scary person to have walking the streets," CNN reported.

    Annie Farmer said she met Epstein when she was 16 years old and that he behaved inappropriately, though she declined to give details, according to Courthouse News. She also asked Berman not to grant bail to Epstein.

    Prosecutors said Monday that during a search of Epstein's home safe, authorities found a bogus passport that listed a Saudi Arabia residence, "piles of cash" and "dozens of diamonds."

    The passport, issued in the 1980s, had Epstein's photo on it but a different name.

    Prosecutors said previously that federal agents found a trove of nude photos during the raid on Epstein's mansion following his arrest on sex trafficking charges.

    Update 10:30 a.m. EDT July 15: Epstein will remain incarcerated until at least Thursday, when a judge said he'll likely rule on whether to grant bail to the 66-year-old, CNN reported.

    Several of Epstein's alleged victims were in court Monday, according to Courthouse News. Prosecutors said Friday in a court filing that multiple victims have told government officials that they want Epstein detained until his trial because they fear his release will give him the opportunity to harass them.

    Original report: Epstein's attorneys have asked a judge to allow their client to be detained at his Manhattan mansion until trial and offered to put up a "substantial" bond to ensure his compliance with the proposed terms of his release. Among other things, Epstein's attorneys proposed he be fitted with a GPS device and said their client would agree to ground his private jet.

    In a response filed Friday, prosecutors argued Epstein should be held without bond due the severity of his charges and his financial means. Prosecutors said they believe Epstein might have tried to influence witnesses after discovering that he had paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals, including a former employee, in the last year.

    Authorities said that several more women have come forward to accuse Epstein of sexually abusing them since charges against the New York hedge fund manager were made public last week. Officials have said authorities found "hundreds or thousands of nude and seminude photographs of young females in his Manhattan mansion on the night of his arrest," evidence which they say eliminates "any doubt that the defendant is unrepentant and unreformed."

    Epstein is accused of sexually exploiting and abusing dozens of girls at his homes in New York and Florida, heading a sex trafficking scheme that saw his victims recruiting other girls to be abused. He pleaded not guilty last week to sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges.

    Epstein avoided significant jail time and federal prosecution in 2008 as part of a deal overseen by then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta. As part of the non-prosecution agreement, Epstein pleaded guilty to a pair of lesser charges and agreed to register as a sex offender. He served 13 months in jail as part of the deal.

    Acosta said his office "proceeded appropriately, based on the evidence" in 2008, but scrutiny of the once-secret deal, detailed in a series of in-depth reports published last year by The Miami Herald, prompted him to resign last week from his role as President Donald Trump's secretary of labor.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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