Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking trial will have a million pages of discovery, including materials on devices seized from his Manhattan mansion, lawyers said today.
The sex offender financier was back in court on Wednesday as his defense attorneys duked it out with prosecutors over how quickly to go to trial. The prosecution has requested a June date but the defense is fighting to delay until September 2020. The trial, prosecutors said, will last four to six weeks.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman wasn't ready to put a trial on the books, saying, "Let's see where everybody is at as the months go by."
Epstein walked into court with his eyeglasses on his head but no visible injuries, days after he reportedly hurt himself in his jail cell.
Also present in the courtroom was famed attorney Gloria Allred, who confirmed for The Daily Beast that she's representing "a number of accusers." Allred has repped a number of victims in high-profile #MeToo cases against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein.
Allred is representing an undisclosed number of alleged victims, none of whom were involved in the previous Florida case, she said. Some of the victims came to her before Epstein's July arrest, while others have reached out since then.
“There’s still time for any accusers to come forward ... It is not too late to help in the process of seeking justice," she said.
On the issue of the trial date, Epstein's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, requested to wait until September of next year because of "double jeopardy" issues relating to the money-manager's secret 2007 non-prosecution agreement.
Weinberg told the court that the defense would also need sealed files from other courts, likely referring to confidential documents in a lawsuit Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre filed against his alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell. Many of those documents may soon be unsealed by order of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
But one assistant U.S. attorney urged that it's in the "public interest" to get Epstein's case to trial "as soon as possible."
"It makes sense at this juncture to set a firm trial date," she said.
A Florida judge is also set to rule any day on whether to uphold the 2007 NPA, after determining that it violated the Crime Victims' Rights Act. The agreement gave Epstein—and any alleged co-conspirators—broad protections and is sure to be central to Epstein's defense strategy. But New York prosecutors argue that it does not bind them and that they are free to pursue their own case.
Epstein was arrested on July 6, just after his private plane landed in New Jersey’s Teterboro Airport from Paris. Federal prosecutors charged the 66-year-old with child sex trafficking and conspiracy. If convicted, he faces 45 years behind bars.
Judge Berman denied bail to Epstein, who has filed an appeal. In his written ruling, Berman said the financier’s fortune rendered him a flight risk and that Epstein’s “alleged excessive attraction” to minor girls “appears likely to be uncontrollable.”
According to the indictment, Epstein recruited underage girls to his Manhattan townhouse and Palm Beach mansion from 2002 to 2005 “to engage in sex acts with him, after which he would give the victims hundreds of dollars in cash.” The document refers to the claims of three victims and states three Epstein employees participated in the sex-trafficking ring.
The politically-connected millionaire also paid his victims to recruit more girls into a “vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit,” court papers allege.
At Epstein’s Upper East Side mansion, police found hundreds of nude photos of girls and young women, along with a massage table with sex toys. When Palm Beach cops investigated Epstein in 2005, they made very similar disturbing discoveries. (Authorities in New York also collected loose diamonds, piles of cash, and a fake Austrian passport inside a locked safe.)
Yet Epstein avoided serious charges in Florida. In 2007, he secured the secret plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami and ended up serving 13 months in a cushy wing of the Palm Beach County stockade, mostly on work release.
Since Epstein’s latest arrest, at least one woman has come forward to claim Epstein sexually assaulted her during those work-release privileges. And as a result, the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office announced it was opening a criminal probe into how deputies handled Epstein’s work release back in 2008 and 2009.
Another accuser, Jennifer Araoz, alleges Epstein sexually abused her when she was 14 and raped her at his Manhattan mansion when she was 15. Araoz claims a young woman working for Epstein had recruited her outside her performing-arts high school.
Araoz filed a lawsuit against Epstein, who was served with a copy of the complaint while locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center—one day before he was found unconscious in his jail cell with neck injuries.
In a court filing last week, prosecutors said they were investigating “uncharged individuals” in Epstein’s case. They requested a protective order, which Judge Berman signed, for highly-sensitive materials they planned to turn over to Epstein.
Those documents could “affect the privacy and confidentiality of individuals,” prosecutors said, and “would impede, if prematurely disclosed, the Government’s ongoing investigation of uncharged individuals.”