Jeffrey Epstein, the high-living financier who partied and traveled with Hollywood stars and world leaders, has been denied bail. The multimillionaire businessman is accused of sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 years old and collecting child pornography.
Prosecutors argued successfully that Epstein’s wealth made him a serious flight risk. He faces up to 45 years in prison and has pled not guilty to the charges.
Attorneys for Epstein said the businessman was willing to put up a $100 million bond and had agreed to a high-tech monitoring system to ensure he didn’t leave the country. However, the prosecution argued that Epstein had the means to flee from justice, citing as evidence that agents had found an expired Austrian passport with a pseudonym and diamonds in a safe. They also noted that Epstein had been accused of witness tampering and had made payments to potential witnesses.
At a bail hearing on Thursday in Manhattan, Judge Richard Berman said that Epstein “is a danger to his community and others.”
The 66-year old Epstein has been the subject of intense media scrutiny, in part because he lived at the epicenter of power. His list of friends and acquaintances included President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, as well as showbiz players such as Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, George Stephanopoulos, Chelsea Handler, Mick Jagger, and publicist Peggy Siegal, who helped Epstein attend Hollywood screenings and premieres. Epstein’s net worth is estimated at over $500 million.
At an initial bail hearing on Monday, two of Epstein’s accusers, Annie Farmer and Courtney Wild, urged Judge Berman not to let the businessman out on bail.
“He’s a scary person to be walking the streets,” said Wild.
Epstein was convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, and entered a controversial plea deal in which he served roughly a year in custody.
Mackenzie Nichols contributed to this report.