A week after reports that he was injured in jail, alleged sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein exhibited no visible signs of distress Wednesday during a brief hearing in Manhattan federal court to discuss scheduling a trial.
The multimillionaire financier charged with sexually abusing underage girls was found in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center last week with neck injuries that sources have said may have been caused by a suicide attempt or an attack by another inmate.
At Wednesday’s hearing, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman declined to set a firm date for Epstein’s trial next year after defense lawyers said it would take until September to prepare and prosecutors said it was “in the public interest” to schedule the expected 4- to 6-week trial earlier, in June 2020.
Epstein, wearing a blue prison smock over a brown T-shirt, didn’t say anything during the hearing. Neither his lawyers nor Berman, who ordered him detained without bail, brought up the subject of his injuries in jail, and his attorneys declined to comment afterward.
Prosecutors have accused Epstein, 66, whose net worth is estimated at more than $500 million, of paying “dozens” of young girls for nude massages and then having sexual encounters with them at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, in the early 2000s.
He pleaded guilty to two prostitution felonies in Florida and was sentenced to a jail term in 2008 as part of a deal to avoid federal prosecution there. His defense lawyers contend that deal prohibits the new case in Manhattan, but New York federal prosecutors say they aren’t bound.
Epstein’s lawyers plan to make that deal a centerpiece of his defense. Berman scheduled an oral argument on that issue for Oct. 28 of this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.