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US financier Jeffrey Epstein appeals bail denial in sex-trafficking case

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Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls, has appealed a federal judge’s decision to keep him in a Manhattan jail while he awaits trial.

According to a court notice made public on Tuesday, Epstein will ask the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the judge’s July 18 rejection of his request to remain under house arrest in his $77 million mansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.

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Epstein has pleaded not guilty and the appeal was expected.  His lawyer Reid Weingarten did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman in Manhattan declined to comment.

The charges, concerning alleged misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005, were announced more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.

In denying him bail, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan said the government had shown by clear and convincing evidence that Epstein would pose a danger to the community if released pending trial.

“Epstein’s alleged excessive attraction to sexual conduct with or in the presence of minor girls – which is said to include his soliciting and receiving massages from young girls and young women perhaps as many as four times a day – appears likely to be uncontrollable,” Berman said in a written decision.

Prosecutors accused Epstein of arranging for girls under the age of 18 to perform nude “massages” and other sex acts, and of paying some girls to recruit others.

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They also said there was a high risk Epstein would use his wealth to flee.

Epstein estimated his net worth at $559 million, including a private plane and homes in Paris and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Lenient agreement

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Lawyers for Epstein have said he has had an unblemished record since his 2008 guilty plea, which was part of an agreement negotiated quietly with Alex Acosta, then the U.S.  Attorney in Miami.

Epstein served 13 months in jail but was allowed to leave regularly to work.

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Many critics have called the agreement too lenient, and it led to Acosta’s July 12 resignation as U.S. President Donald Trump’s secretary of labor.

Epstein has been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan, whose conditions have been criticized by some inmates.

They have included the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who at a July 17 hearing where he was sentenced to life in prison called his confinement conditions “psychological, emotional, mental torture 24 hours a day.”

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The case is U.S. v. Epstein, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-cr-00490.


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Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate

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The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.

The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.

During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.

Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege

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Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info

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Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.

Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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