Jeffrey Epstein shows no sign of injury following possible suicide attempt

A brief hearing in New York City marked the first time the accused sex trafficker was seen in public since he was found injured in his cell July 23.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Sept. 8, 2004.Rick Friedman / Corbis via Getty Images file

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By Jonathan Dienst and Rich Schapiro

Jeffrey Epstein walked into federal court in New York City on Wednesday showing no outward signs of injury following an incident in his jail cell last week.

The brief hearing in lower Manhattan marked the first time the accused sex trafficker was seen in public since he was found injured inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center in a possible suicide attempt.

Epstein was discovered semi-conscious, in a fetal position, with marks on his neck July 23, according to sources close to the investigation. He may have tried to hang himself, the sources said, but investigators had not ruled out the possibility that he was attacked by a fellow inmate or had staged the incident to get a transfer to a different facility.

On Wednesday, the jailed money manager walked into court wearing blue prison pants and a matching shirt. He displayed no signs of injuries and sat quietly at the defense table, at times with his chin resting on interlocked hands, as his lawyers and the prosecutors discussed a possible trial date.

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Epstein's lawyers, citing one million pages of discovery materials, asked for a trial date after Labor Day 2020. Prosecutors argued for an earlier date citing the significant public interest in the case.

The hearing ended with Judge Richard Berman signaling that Epstein won't stand trial until at least June 2020.

Epstein was arrested July 6 on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy after he arrived on his private plane at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey following a flight from France.

Prosecutors say he sexually abused and trafficked dozens of girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. Epstein and his associates paid his victims to recruit other girls to give him nude massages and engage in sex acts, allowing him to build a vast network of minors to exploit, his indictment says. Epstein has pleaded not guilty.

Following his arrest, investigators searching his home found hundreds, if not thousands, of photos of nude underage girls or women, court papers say. The federal agents also found a safe filled with piles of cash, diamonds and an Austrian passport with Epstein's photo and a different name.

Berman rejected his request to be released from jail and await trial at his $77 million Upper East Side mansion, citing a flight risk and the ongoing danger he posed to the community.

Epstein was investigated for similar crimes starting in 2005 but he reached a deal with federal prosecutors in Miami that spared him from serious federal sex crimes charges. Instead, he pleaded guilty to two state prostitution charges in 2008 and spent 13 months in a Palm Beach jail. Epstein was allowed to leave on "work-release" for 12 hours a day, six days a week.

A Miami Herald expose published last fall generated increased scrutiny of the federal non-prosecution agreement, which was overseen by then-U.S. attorney Alex Acosta. Acosta, who went on to become President Donald Trump's labor secretary, resigned earlier this month.