No Bail For Epstein, Who Won't Be Using That Pedophile Bugout Bag After All
This morning, accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein lost his bid to wait out his trial in the comfort of his $77 million mansion. Instead he'll extend his stay in the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center's Special Housing Unit down the hall from El Chapo Guzman. Turns out courts look at a safe stuffed with $70,000 in cash, "48 loose diamond stones, ranging in size from approximately 1 carat to 2.38 carats," and a forged passport as evidence that the defendant just might have the inclination and ability to skip bail and skedaddle to someplace warm to live out the remainder of his days under an assumed name.
US District Judge Richard Berman ruled Epstein poses a threat to public safety, citing the testimony of alleged victims Annie Farmer and Courtney Wild, who "fear for their safety and safety of others if Epstein were to be released" in announcing his decision to deny bail to the accused child sex trafficker. Epstein's lawyers had offered to secure his release with assets totaling $100 million, but it wasn't enough.
"I am not suggesting that a different bail package would be appropriate because I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community," said the judge. Epstein's payments to potential co-conspirators totaling $350,000 in November and December as the Miami Herald stories began to break were mentioned by prosecutors as possible evidence of witness tampering. And accounts of witness intimidation in Florida, including a 2006 police report of investigators following his accusers and making harassing phone calls, didn't help either.
Plus there was the "extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially nude young women or girls" found in that same safe and the "compact discs with hand-written labels including the following: 'Young [Name] + [Name],' 'Misc nudes 1,' and 'Girl pics nude.'" Which hardly bespeaks a reformed sinner who poses no threat to the community.
But about that Austrian passport from the 1980s, if I might be able to offer a personal opinion. The forged -- or more likely, doctored -- passport shows Epstein's picture with a fake name, describing him as a resident of Saudi Arabia. His lawyers claim that he always used his real, US passport, and "[t]he passport stamps, predating his receipt of the document, do not reflect Mr. Epstein's entries or exits."
Epstein's explanation that he was "advised at the time to carry identification bearing a non-Jewish name when traveling internationally in case of hijacking" rings entirely true to me. Black September had massacred eleven Israeli olympians in Munich in 1972; the PLO hijacked multiple airplanes, including an Air France flight in 1976 which was rerouted to Uganda where everyone but the Israeli passengers was let go; and Leon Klinghoffer was shot in his wheelchair and thrown off the side of the hijacked cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985 simply for being Jewish. It was a scary time, and frankly, I still don't let my children travel wearing their JCC T-shirts. So, I understand that Epstein might have wanted a spare passport showing a less-obviously Jewish name.
But ... you pay your money and you take your chances. If you're going to hang on to a forged passport, even one which expired some 30-odd years ago, you run the risk that it will be used as evidence that you both know how to get such a document and that you might well intend to use it. Particularly when it's locked up in a safe with the rest of your Pedophile Bug Out Bag for dangerous perverts on the run.
We're still awaiting Judge Berman's bail memo, which was supposed to land on the docket hours ago. But in court the judge said bail was denied because "the government has established danger to others and to the community by clear and convincing evidence" and proved by a "preponderance of the evidence" that he posed a real flight risk.
He should only rot in jail forever.
And on that happy note? OPEN THREAD. (In which Wonkette rules for commenting radicals still apply.)
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