When you have both all the time and the money in the world but no place to go, this is as good a form of entertainment as you’ll get. Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys have appealed the denial of bail for the wealthy sex offender, although they haven’t quite worked out what their argument will be:
Accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is appealing a federal judge’s decision to deny his proposed bail package, which left the wealthy financier in jail pending trial.
The move Monday came four days after Judge Richard Berman rejected Epstein’s bid to to be released on a bond of up to $100 million. …
Epstein is currently being held in federal lockup in lower Manhattan. His lawyers notified Berman late Monday afternoon that they were appealing his decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
The criminal notice of appeal form, which costs $505 to file to the court clerk, does not lay out the grounds for appeal that Epstein’s lawyers plan to cite.
Epstein lights his cigars with five Benjamins at a time, so the filing cost isn’t worth a second thought. Even the time his high-priced attorneys spend on a futile appeal won’t put a dent in Epstein’s resources. His proposed $100 million bail package would have been expendable too, had Berman granted him a pre-trial release, as it represented at most around 20% of Epstein’s accumulated wealth. And that’s the accumulation that can be found at this time.
Presumably, Epstein’s attorneys want to reverse Berman’s finding that Epstein presents a danger to the community. Unfortunately for Epstein, as Berman explained in his decision, federal rules force the presumption of a danger to the community when sex trafficking in minors is alleged. Under 18 USC 3142(e)(3), the burden falls on the defendant to prove himself no danger:
(3) Subject to rebuttal by the person, it shall be presumed that no condition or combination of conditions will reasonably assure the appearance of the person as required and the safety of the community if the judicial officer finds that there is probable cause to believe that the person committed … (e) an offense involving a minor victim under section 1201, 1591, 2241, 2242, 2244(a)(1), 2245, 2251, 2251A, 2252(a)(1), 2252(a)(2), 2252(a)(3), 2252A(a)(1), 2252A(a)(2), 2252A(a)(3), 2252A(a)(4), 2260, 2421, 2422, 2423, or 2425 of this title.
Epstein has been charged under 18 USC 1591, “Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion.” Furthermore, Epstein has a conviction on related offenses already on the record, which further substantiates his risk to the community. That leaves Epstein’s attorneys only two ways to get him out of jail before trial, neither of which look promising.
First, Epstein’s attorneys claim that their client complied with the terms of his work-release sentence after his plea deal in 2007. However, there are now substantial questions emerging as to the nature of Epstein’s compliance and a question of whether his wealth corrupted that oversight. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office has now launched an internal probe into the conduct of its deputies with Epstein to determine whether they allowed him to continue his sexual predation, and the Daily Beast found more irregularities within their reluctantly supplied records:
The PBSO chief deputy sheriff said Epstein was a “model prisoner” and of his deputies paid to supervise Epstein during his work-release, he said: “That would shock me if the deputies let someone else in … They knew exactly what the rules and regulations were.” However, one of the deputies, in a document I viewed (for July 11, 2009), reported that they contacted their Sergeant (W. Lawrence) “…to get some clarity of the duties and responsibilities while at the residence. He stated the function is to provide security.” …
The sheriff’s office personnel who provided security for him had to create logs for when they watched him at the Florida Science Foundation (a foundation he apparently set up for his work-release). This appears to have involved two shifts (from 7am to 3pm and 3pm to 11pm). On July 11, 2009 (see below) the officer noted that Epstein had one female visitor who signed in. The officer reported that he followed Epstein to his Palm Beach estate at 12pm where Epstein stayed for two and a half hours. The officer did not enter Epstein’s residence and sat outside in his car.
At 2:31pm he brought Epstein back to his office. The starting and ending mileage implies that the officer drove 75 miles that day. The distance from the county jail to the Florida Science Foundation, to Epstein’s house is 4 to 5 miles (depending on the route). From Florida Science Foundation to Epstein’s Palm Beach Mansion is 3.6 to 4 miles. This would result in a 15 to 16-mile round trip. It is unclear how 75 miles were logged that day.
When asked about Epstein’s work release shift, the current PBSO Chief Michael Gauger said, “He did not have free time to wander. He was not allowed to go out for lunch. He had to stay in that office the entire time.” However, in some of the logs, the officers report following Epstein to his residence and providing security. One, below, reports that the officer did not enter Epstein’s residence. This suggests that there were major deficiencies in how Epstein was monitored.
With all of the other reports about Epstein’s activities emerging, this seems like a much less promising avenue for release for Epstein’s attorneys.
The other option is to attack the probable cause for Epstein’s arrest. It does not appear from Berman’s decision that Epstein’s attorneys challenged the charges on the basis of double jeopardy, which would be more of an issue for a dismissal motion, but that may be all they have left. There is an argument to be made that the original plea agreement was intended to be applied “globally,” as it explicitly states, in regard to all federal jurisdictions. If that’s the case, and if federal prosecutors can’t file charges under 18 USC 1591 for more recent acts, then a dismissal motion might put bail back on the table.
Until then, though, Epstein better make himself comfortable in his present digs. It might not be Little Saint Jeff, as he liked to call his private Caribbean island, but the good news is that the help at his new location are also very interested in security.