A judge denied bail for jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein on sex trafficking charges today, saying he poses a danger to the public and might use his "great wealth and vast resources" to flee the country.
Epstein, with his hands folded before him, showed no reaction to the announcement by US District Judge Richard M. Berman. His lawyers did not comment afterward.
"I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community," Berman said, citing a danger for both the "minor victims in this case and prospective victims as well."
The decision means Epstein will remain behind bars while he fights charges that he exploited dozens of girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Two politicians lauded Berman's bail decision, with US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying the "survivors deserve more answer and true justice."
Berman noted the "compelling testimony" at Tuesday's bail hearing by Epstein accusers Annie Farmer and Courtney Wild, who "testified that they fear for their safety and the safety of others if Mr. Epstein were to be released."
Wild, who said she was sexually abused by Epstein when she was 14 in Palm Beach, Florida, pleaded with the judge to keep him jailed.
"He's a scary person to have walking the streets," Wild said during the hearing.
The defense had argued 66-year-old Epstein should be allowed to await trial under house arrest with electronic monitoring at his $77 million Manhattan mansion. They said he wouldn't run and was willing to pledge a fortune of at least $559 million as collateral.
The judge said he also rejected bail because Epstein presents a flight risk, in part because of his opulent lifestyle that includes private jets, frequent international travel and a foreign residence in Paris.
On Tuesday, Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller said the government's case against Epstein is "getting stronger every single day" as more women contact authorities to say he sexually abused them when they were minors.
Rossmiller said the government learned earlier this week that a raid of Epstein's mansion following his July 6 arrest turned up "piles of cash, dozens of diamonds" and a passport with a picture of the defendant but a name other than his in a locked safe. He also said hundreds, if not thousands, of sexually explicit photos of young women found in his home included at least one purported victim.