NYC judge delays Epstein trial until at least June 2020

Jerry Epstein. 2006 photo: Wikipedia Commons/Palm Beach County Sheriff's Department

Aug. 1 (UPI) — Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein won’t stand trial on multiple charges of federal sex crimes for at least a year, a New York City judge ruled Wednesday.

Epstein appeared in Manhattan court, where attorneys discussed timing details of the case, including a trial start date. Judge Richard Berman ultimately decided the case won’t reach the trial stage until next June, at the earliest. He has pleaded not guilty to two charges of federal sex trafficking.

Defense attorneys asked Berman for more time to go through a million pages of evidence in the complex case, and requested the trial begin in September 2020. Prosecutors argued for June, out of public interest in the case.

Epstein attorney Martin Weinberg told Berman Wednesday the defense team won’t be ready before Labor Day next year. The judge set a tentative date of June 8, 2020, but said he will allow for more time if defense attorneys aren’t ready by then.

Epstein is accused of luring minors to his Manhattan townhouse and beachfront Florida mansion between 2002 and 2005 for sexual exploitation. Wednesday was Epstein’s first court appearance since he was hospitalized last week for neck injuries. Guards found him unconscious in his jail cell. The previous day, he’d been served a new complaint of sex abuse from a woman who said she was assaulted in 2002, when she was 15. The documents said she wants to sue Epstein and a “recruiter” for sexual assault, battery and rape.

Wednesday, Epstein appeared to have no adverse affects from the injury.

Epstein has been held in the Manhattan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit since Berman denied bail for the 66-year-old financier, citing as reasons a danger to the community and a risk of flight from prosecution. He was arrested at a New Jersey airport July 6 after returning to the United States from Paris.

Despite the judge’s refusal to grant bail, defense attorneys have continued to appeal for house arrest. Epstein’s attorneys are also seeking to have the case dismissed on double jeopardy grounds, arguing the charges are similar to those he already served prison time for in 2008. They said they will file written arguments in September.

If convicted on all counts, Epstein faces 45 years in prison.


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