A US judge told Jeffrey Epstein Wednesday that his trial on sex trafficking charges won’t begin before next June as the disgraced financier appeared in court for the first time since being found unconscious in his jail cell.
Epstein, 66, did not appear to be showing any visible signs of injuries after he was reportedly discovered last week with marks on his neck following an apparent suicide attempt.
Epstein – already a convicted sex offender – sat impassively in the New York courtroom as prosecutors and his defense team argued over when his trial over allegations he trafficked underage girls for sex should start.
Assistant US Attorney Alison Moe, prosecuting for the government, pushed for a June date.
“There is a public interest to bring this trial as quickly as possible,” she said.
Martin Weinberg, acting for Epstein, told Judge Richard Berman that it would take 13 months from now for the defense’s case to be ready, arguing for the trial to start in September 2020.
The case “raises unique and complex issues,” he said, telling the court that he expected lawyers would have to review more than one million pages of documents relating to it.
Berman said the trial would last between four and six weeks. He tentatively set June 8 as the start date but said it would be confirmed at a later hearing.
Epstein has been charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
“Mr. Epstein told scientists and businessmen about his ambitions to use his New Mexico ranch as a base where women would be inseminated with his sperm and would give birth to his babies.” https://t.co/DjXYM5UjT4
— Chris Megerian (@ChrisMegerian) July 31, 2019
He denies the charges, and faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Multiple US media outlets reported last week that Epstein had been found injured in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
Law enforcement officials are investigating whether he injured himself in a bid to be transferred out of the jail or if he was the victim of assault.
The wealthy hedge fund manager, who has befriended countless celebrities and politicians over the years, was convicted previously of paying young girls for sexual massages but avoided federal prosecution under a controversial plea deal.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk