Jeffrey Epstein could face trial as early as June 2020. The 66-year-old wealthy financier was back for a pretrial hearing on Wednesday, in Manhattan relating to the sex trafficking charges. The attorney for Epstein’s accusers Gloria Arred spoke to reporters outside the court on July 31, saying: “It appears that Mr. Epstein’s trial will not take place until next year. There are a number of motions that have to be filed.”
The defense was indicating that it is going to make motions having to do with what they allege was a non-prosecution agreement. And they also allege that there are complex constitutional issues involved in this case.”
Attorneys for Epstein did not speak outside Wednesday’s court hearing. Unlike previous court appearances where Epstein was communicating with his lawyers and looking through papers, he appeared subdued with his hands folded in front of him throughout the brief hearing. There were no visible signs of any injuries after he was found on the floor of his cell last week with neck bruises.
After the court appearance, Epstein’s lawyer refused to answer what caused the neck bruising. Gloria Allred who represents multiple Epstein accusers in the case said if convicted ‘its possible, Mr. Epstein could face the rest of his life in prison.’ She said it’s likely the defense has discussed this with Epstein the length of time they will need to prepare for the trial. “So they want to make sure they’re prepared,” she said.
Allred said her educated guess is that “every day in prison is probably a day that feels like years to Mr. Epstein.” She said it would seem Epstein would like to have a trial as soon as possible, but he also wants to make sure that his attorneys are prepared.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges that carry the potential for up to 45 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman has ordered Epstein to remain behind bars until trial after concluding he is a danger to the community and a flight risk. Prosecutors have said they fear he might try to influence a growing number of witnesses who support charges that he recruited and abused dozens of girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.
His lawyers had argued he should be allowed to stay under house arrest in his Manhattan mansion. Epstein’s lawyers have argued that an agreement reached with federal prosecutors a dozen years ago, disallows the charges and they said he has committed no new crimes.
The deal was reached before he pleaded guilty in state court in Florida to prostitution-related charges involving underage girls. Afterward, he was required to register as a sex offender and pay restitution to many of the victims. While he served a 13-month jail term, he was permitted to leave the jail to work for 12 hours a day, six days a week.
On Monday, Berman ordered lawyers in the case against Epstein to meet before Wednesday’s hearing and discuss how the case will proceed, including the timing of pretrial written arguments over legal issues, and when a trial should be scheduled.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 when he arrived at a New Jersey airport on a private jet from Paris, where he has a home.
Includes reporting from The Associated Press