Financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was denied bail on sex trafficking charges Thursday after federal prosecutors argued he was a flight risk, according to multiple reports.
Epstein’s attorneys had argued their client should be allowed to remain under house arrest in Manhattan with electronic monitoring, and said he was willing to put up more than $500 million as collateral against potential flight, The Associated Press noted.
But U.S. District Judge Richard Berman rejected the request, saying, “I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community” from allowing Epstein to remain free, according to the AP.
Federal prosecutors, arguing Epstein was a flight risk, reportedly said that a raid of his mansion after he was arrested in early July had produced diamonds, “piles of cash” and a passport with a picture of Epstein and another name.
But Epstein’s attorneys argued Epstein obtained the passport during a period in which airplane hijackings were common and Jewish Americans were advised to carry passports with non-Jewish names, according to the news service, which added that they also claimed he had never used the passport. Prosecutors reportedly disputed that claim, noting the passport contained stamps showing it was used to travel to France, Spain, the U.K. and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s.
At a hearing on Monday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said the case against Epstein was growing “stronger every single day” as more women who allege he sexually abused him when they were minors contacted the U.S. government.
Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay CBO releases cost estimate of Biden plan Real conservatives must make a choice MORE (R-Neb.) on Thursday applauded the decision to deny Epstein bail, saying in a statement, "This wasn’t a close call: this molester stole the innocence of many little girls and being a billionaire isn’t a get out of jail card."
Sasse has pushed for an investigation of a 2008 deal approved by outgoing Labor Secretary Alex AcostaAlex Alexander AcostaOn The Money: Trump slams relief bill, calls on Congress to increase stimulus money | Biden faces new critical deadlines after relief package | Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Labor rule allows restaurants to require broader tip pooling Federal litigator files complaint alleging Labor secretary abused his authority MORE, then a U.S. attorney, that allowed Epstein to only serve 13 months. Sasse voted to confirm Acosta in 2017, before the deal became public knowledge.
--Updated at 12:29 p.m.