Jeffrey Epstein, Stay In Jail!
Every single thing about the Jeffrey Epstein case is bizarre and appalling, and this morning's bail hearing in New York was no exception. Between defense lawyers arguing that Epstein hasn't been caught molesting any girls for 15 years now, so he should get to go home to await trial in his palace, and prosecutors pulling out a new piece of incriminating evidence every 10 minutes, US District Judge Richard Berman had his hands -- and his courtroom -- full. His honor won't issue a ruling on bail until Thursday, but ... we have a fair guess as to how that one will go.
The Fake Passport
When making the case that your client is not a flight risk, gosh, nothing could be farther from the truth, your Honor, the presence of a false passport in his safe is not really a point in your favor. Particularly when pre-trial services has already issued a non-public report recommending that the "billionaire" with a couple of jets and multiple private islands to his name park his ass in jail and stay there.
"The passport was issued in the name of a foreign country, it was issued in the 1980s, it is expired, it shows a picture of Jeffrey Epstein, and another name," said prosecutor Alex Rossmiller, referring to the Saudi passport discovered by the FBI when it raided Epstein's New York mansion two weeks ago.
The Cache of Cash and Diamonds
Also in Epstein's safe, next to the fake passport, were "a pile of cash" and diamonds. For those times when you're fleeing the jurisdiction and don't want to put it on the AmEx Black? ALLEGEDLY.
I am the Law Abiding and Honorable Epstein! Pay no attention to those forged travel documents and untraceable liquid assets behind the curtain!
How Much Money Does Epstein Actually Have? It's a MYSTERY!
Last week, Epstein's lawyers filed a financial disclosure under seal so the court might set a bail (haha) sufficient to secure their client's appearance in court. Except the report they filed was so "cursory" and lacking in detail that Judge Berman has no way of assessing Mr. Epstein's finances. So the judge is inclined to unseal the report and put it on the public docket, which will no doubt be helpful when the victims start filing their civil suits. Womp womp!
But How Can a Rich Guy Meet With His High-Priced Lawyers in Jail? Unpossible!
Call it the Manafort Defense. How can a rich guy meet with his fancy lawyers when he's in jail with the dregs of humanity?
"You don't punish first and have a trial second," defense attorney Martin Weinberg implored the court. A stickler for details will note that the law presumes pretrial detention is appropriate for a registered sex offender charged with a further sex offense, and thus the defendant shoulders the burden of proving he should be released. But how can that compete with pressures of high-priced attorneys who "need him released, judge," to adequately prepare for "an enormously challenging case for defense counsel."
Courthouse News's Adam Klasfeld -- who livetweeted today's hearing -- has pointed out that Judge Berman refused Iranian gold trader Reza Zarrab's motion to build himself a private jail out of stacks of cash in 2016, saying, "[t]he defendant's privately funded armed guard proposal is unreasonable because it helps to foster inequity and unequal treatment in favor of a very small cohort of criminal defendants who are extremely wealthy[.]" So good luck with that argument when the statute calls for presumptive remand.
The Old 'My Client Hasn't Molested Any Little Girls In 15 Years' Defense. Works Every Time!
Except possibly when the presiding judge is also a social worker. Epstein's lawyers argued that their client has shown "14 years of self-discipline," during which time he managed not to re-create his alleged network of paid recruiters to bring underage girls to his homes for sexual massages. Honestly, the court should give the guy a commendation for all those years when he really, really wanted to have sex with adolescent girls but managed to restrain himself! Or, as prosecutor Rosmiller put it, "The defendant keeps telling on himself here."
Then Judge Berman pointed to a study -- likely this one -- demonstrating that the risk of recidivism goes up as time passes for convicted sex offenders, rising from 5 percent after three years to 24 percent after 15 years. Not to mention the fact that prosecutors seized "an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially-nude young women or girls," from Epstein's safe.
So much for the "self-discipline" defense.
For the Last Goddamn Time, A CHILD CANNOT CONSENT TO SEX WITH AN ADULT!
In their bail memo where defense counsel defended their client as simply patronizing prostitutes, not participating in child sex trafficking -- "[T]he principal conduct underlying the indictment is Mr. Epstein's payment of money for massages that purportedly escalated to alleged sex acts. Mr. Epstein's conduct, however, is akin to consumer or purchaser behavior[.]"
They continued this bizarre line of defense this morning, saying, "It's not like he's an out-of-control rapist. He doesn't fit the paradigm." Jeffrey Epstein appears to have been very much in control, Your Honor! Just three months ago, he reportedly told a prospective publicist -- who declined the paycheck -- that he isn't even a pedophile, since all the girls he had sex with were "tweens and teens."
But Rosmiller reminded the court that, when it comes to minors, there is no requirement of force or coercion. Because there is no scenario in which a 14-year-old can legally consent to have sex with an adult.
Particularly when she has to cross state lines to do it. AHEM.
And Then ... The Witnesses
Attorney David Boies, who represents several of the victims, brought two to testify in court this morning. They got the last word, and the word was that Annie Farmer was 16 years old when Epstein flew her to New Mexico for "inappropriate" purposes. And Courtney Wild testified to being "sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein at the age of 14, adding, "He is a scary person to have walking the street."
So ... we have a pretty good guess how Judge Berman will rule on Thursday. And as tempting as it is, please try to refrain from violating the Wonkette commenting rules. We're all thinking it, but it doesn't need to be said.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.