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Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking trial expected to begin no sooner than June 2020

Key Points
  • The child sex trafficking trial of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein is expected to begin no sooner than June 8, 2020, but defense attorneys want the trial no earlier than Labor Day 2020.
  • Epstein's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, argued that he will need significant time to prepare for trying the case of the former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton.
  • Epstein is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his massive homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
Courtroom sketch showing Jeffrey Epstein at his bail hearing in New York on July 15th, 2019.
Artist: Christine Cornell

The child sex trafficking trial of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein is expected to begin no sooner than June 8, 2020, a court hearing Wednesday determined.

But Epstein's defense lawyers told Judge Richard Berman at the hearing that they want the trial to begin no earlier than after Labor Day in September 2020.

Berman reserved making a final decision on the trial date.

But the judge suspended until June 8 the administrative clock that sets a deadline for the trial.

That effectively means that the earliest a trial would begin is that day.

Epstein's lawyer, Martin Weinberg, told Berman that the defense will need significant time to prepare for trying the case, in which the former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton is accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his massive homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.

Weinberg said that the defense has not yet reviewed the case's evidence, which he noted will total more than 1 million pages.

"Thirteen months sounds like the appropriate amount of time it takes to prepare a case of this magnitude," Weinberg said.

But a federal prosecutor told Berman that there was a "public interest" in bringing the case to trial more quickly.

"We don't think any delay in this case is in the public interest," the prosecutor said.

The hearing in U.S. District Court in Manhattan was Epstein's first court appearance since he was found on July 23 semi-conscious and with marks on his neck on the floor of his jail cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

Officials have not said if Epstein tried to kill himself, staged a suicide attempt or was attacked by another inmate in that federal lockup.

At Wednesday's hearing, Epstein appeared in court with no visible injuries. He wore the same blue jail shirt and pants with a brown short-sleeve undershirt and orange sneakers that he had worn in every previous court appearance in the case.

He was clean-shaven and appeared to have recently gotten a haircut. He said nothing during the brief proceeding.

High-profile lawyer Gloria Allred, who is known for her representation of women alleging sexual assault and harassment, was in the courtroom during the hearing. Allred later told reporters outside the courthouse in lower Manhattan that she is representing a number of women who accuse Epstein of victimizing them.

Epstein is being held without bail. Berman earlier this month denied his request to be released into home confinement on a bond of upward of $100 million. The judge said Epstein represents a potential danger to other women, and was also a risk of flight given his wealth.

Epstein, 66, was arrested in early July after a grand jury in Manhattan indicted him on charges of sex trafficking, and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.

He has pleaded not guilty in the case, where he faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state charges in Florida related to prostitution involving an underage girl. He served 13 months in jail, but spent much of that time on work release.

Last week, a day before he was found injured in his cell, Epstein was served at the jail with court documents indicating that a woman plans to sue him next month for his alleged rape of her as a 15-year-old high school student in 2002 in his Manhattan residence.

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NYT reporter explains Jeffrey Epstein's Wall Street connections