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Judge dismisses Epstein's bail plea in child sex trafficking case

File photo of Jeffrey Epstein. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Washington Jul 18, 2019, 10.43 PM (IST)

A US federal judge on Thursday rejected Jeffrey Epstein's bail request and ordered that the financier accused of sexually assaulting minors remain in custody pending trial.

"The government has established the danger to others and the community," along with the hedge fund billionaire's flight risk, Judge Richard Berman said in his ruling dismissing the bail application, for which Epstein said he could pay more than $100 million.

Epstein's defence team had argued that he should be allowed to remain at his home, fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and with his building under police video surveillance.

"I doubt that any bail package can overcome the danger to the community," said the judge, who set the next hearing in Epstein's case for July 31.

In his ruling, Berman cited Epstein's ownership of a private jet, along with a fake Austrian passport and $70,000 in cash found in his house, as evidence that the financier could skip bail.

Epstein was charged earlier this month in New York with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say Epstein sexually exploited dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005.
 

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Epstein's defence team had argued that he should be allowed to remain at his home, fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and with his building under police video surveillance.