A federal judge on Thursday denied the bail application of wealthy investor Jeffrey Epstein, who is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls. The ruling comes after prosecutors argued Epstein is a danger to the public and could flee the United States.
The ruling means Epstein will remain behind bars while he fights charges that he exploited dozens of girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
“I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community,” U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Thursday.
The defense had argued he should be allowed to await trial under house arrest with electronic monitoring at his $77 million Manhattan mansion. They said he wouldn’t run and was willing to pledge a fortune of at least $559 million as collateral.
In a court filing Wednesday, prosecutors disputed a claim by defense lawyers that there was no evidence he’d ever used it, saying the Austrian passport contained stamps reflecting it was used to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s.
Prosecutors have also argued Epstein was a risk of trying to influence witnesses after it was discovered he had paid a total of $350,000 to two people, including a former employee, in the last year. That came after the Miami Herald reported the circumstances of his state court conviction in 2008, which led to a 13-month jail term and a plea deal that allowed him to avoid a federal prosecution.
Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last week after coming under renewed criticism for overseeing the decade-old arrangement as U.S. attorney in Miami. Lawyers for Epstein said their client has stayed clean since pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution charges in Florida in 2008 and that the federal government is reneging on the plea deal.
As Breitbart News’ Kyle Morris reported, the politically-connected Epstein contributed thousands of dollars to high-profile Democrats for years. The wealthy investor cut seven $1,000 checks for Minority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer between 1992 and 1997. Epstein donated $10,000 to the Victory in New York, a fundraising committee launched by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in 1998. In the same year, he gave $5,000 to the Schumer-linked committee Win New York. Other notable lawmakers who received funds from Epstein include Obama-era Secretary of State John Kerry, former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and former Secretary of Agriculture and Rep. Dan Glickman (D-KS).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.