Saturday 24 August 2019

Jeffrey Epstein found injured in cell ahead of US sex trafficking trial

A source said it was not clear whether the bruising was self-inflicted or from an assault.

Jeffrey Epstein (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP)
Jeffrey Epstein (New York State Sex Offender Registry/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

Jeffrey Epstein was found injured on the floor of his cell in the US federal jail where he is awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, sources say.

The source said on Thursday that it was not clear whether bruising on his neck was self-inflicted or from an assault.

The financier was treated and remains in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in New York City.

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Jeffrey Epstein, second from right, depicted in a courtroom sketch (Aggie Kenny/AP)

There was no immediate response from jail officials and one of Epstein’s lawyers.

A judge has denied bail to Epstein, ruling that he poses a danger to the public.

Epstein is accused of having sex with girls as young as 14 and has pleaded not guilty.

The Metropolitan Correctional Centre, where Epstein is being held, is famous for stringent security and high-profile prisoners, which have included terrorists, Wall Street schemers and, until recently, the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Epstein has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s and has pleaded not guilty.

A judge denied bail to Epstein after a hearing last week, ruling that he might flee the country if he was released.

The judge also said Epstein posed a danger to the public because of his “uncontrollable” urges to engage in sexual conduct with underage girls.

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Ex-US labour secretary Alex Acosta (Andrew Harnik/AP)

Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in a deal that ended a federal investigation involving many teenage girls who said they had been sexually abused.

He was sentenced to 13 months in jail but was allowed to leave the county stockade on most days and spend the day in his private office.

After his release, he registered as a sex offender.

US federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reports in the Miami Herald sparked outrage over the original plea bargain.

Epstein was indicted on new federal charges this month.

Epstein’s lawyers say he has not had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his jail sentence in Florida.

They also say the current charges are improper because the federal government is reneging on the deal not to prosecute him.

US labour secretary Alexander Acosta resigned after coming under renewed criticism for overseeing that deal when he was US attorney in Miami.

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