MANHATTAN (CN) — With no visible bruises that would speak to his reported jail-cell injury, accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein appeared in court Wednesday to prepare for a possible summer 2020 trial.
Epstein is said to have been found injured last week in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, setting off speculation that he either attempted to kill himself, had been assaulted or engaged in a stunt to leave pretrial lockup.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman had denied bail earlier this month, finding that the already convicted sex offender posed a flight risk and a danger to the community.
Epstein’s appeal of that ruling and subsequent incident in the special housing unit of his lockup did not come up at today’s status conference, where the parties wrangled over whether to schedule a trial for June or September 2020.
Pushing for the earlier date, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alison Moe emphasized the need for a speedy trial.
“We think that there is a public interest in bringing this case to trial as swiftly as manageable,” Moe said.
Epstein’s attorney Martin Weinberg argued that the complexities of the case warranted waiting until immediately after Labor Day next year.
“Understandably, it is coming, and I’m not in any way contesting that there has been a delay, but we haven’t had an opportunity to start reviewing what the government has predicted to be over a million pages of discovery with Mr. Epstein and to assess Mr. Epstein’s ability to exercise his constitutional right, while at MCC, in assisting counsel prepare for a very difficult case that addresses events that it is alleged occurred 14 to 17 years ago,” Weinberg said.
Finding either option amenable, Judge Berman paused the speedy trial clock until June and signaled that he will revisit the scheduling issue later.
There will be oral arguments for upcoming motions on Oct. 28.