Jeffrey Epstein’s Safe Had ‘Piles of Cash’ and a Fake Passport, Prosecutors Say


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Jeffrey Epstein’s Safe Had ‘Piles of Cash’ and a Fake Passport, Prosecutors Say

Two women who say they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein also urged the judge to deny him bail ahead of his sex-trafficking trial.

ImageJeffrey Epstein in 2008.
CreditCreditUma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press

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Investigators discovered a safe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion that held “piles of cash,” diamonds and an expired passport from a foreign country which had what appeared to be Mr. Epstein’s photo, but was registered to a fake name and listed his residence as Saudi Arabia.

Prosecutors revealed the safe’s contents as they argued in Federal District Court in Manhattan that Mr. Epstein should be denied bail before his sex-trafficking and conspiracy trial because he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. He is accused of abusing dozens of underage girls at his residences in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla.

Video

Who Is Jeffrey Epstein? The Financier Embroiled in an Underage Sex Scandal
A registered sex offender known for his lavish lifestyle and high-profile connections to the rich and powerful, the financier Jeffrey Epstein is facing new charges that he exploited dozens of young girls for sex acts.Credit Credit Rick Friedman/Corbis, via Getty Images

Two women who say they were sexually abused by Mr. Epstein also spoke at the hearing, urging Judge Richard M. Berman to deny him bail.

“He’s a scary person to have walking the streets,” said Courtney Wild, one of Mr. Epstein’s accusers, who said she was assaulted at age 14.

Judge Berman said he would not rule until Thursday about whether Mr. Epstein should be granted bail while he awaits trial.

Courtney Wild, who says she was assaulted by Mr. Epstein at age 14, spoke at a bail hearing on Monday.
Credit Calla Kessler/The New York Times

Mr. Epstein had proposed in court papers that he be allowed to remain under house arrest in his $56 million mansion on the Upper East Side, and pay for 24-hour security guards who would ensure he did not flee.

His attorneys say Mr. Epstein has been law-abiding for more than a decade.

“He didn’t re-engage in this activity,” one of his lawyers, Martin Weinberg, told the judge on Monday, adding, “It’s not like he’s an out-of-control rapist.”

But prosecutors, citing what they called Mr. Epstein’s “yearslong scheme to sexually abuse underage girls” and his fortune of at least $500 million, have argued that Mr. Epstein would pose a danger to the community and might flee the country if granted bond.

The government had also said Mr. Epstein might try to obstruct justice if he were given bail. Prosecutors said that last year he wired $350,000 to two people who were potential witnesses against him at a trial.

Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said on Monday that the payment could have been “an act of generosity” to Mr. Epstein’s associates, and that government lawyers were unable to prove otherwise.

Mr. Epstein, 66, who faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on the charges, has been held since his July 6 arrest in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan, a highly secure jail that has housed accused terrorists, mobsters and, recently, the Mexican drug lord El Chapo.

In 2008, Mr. Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges in Florida as part of a secret deal with federal prosecutors to satisfy a potential indictment on similar charges. He ended up serving a 13-month sentence in a local jail and avoided federal prosecution.

That deal was brokered by R. Alexander Acosta, a former United States attorney in Miami who resigned last week as President Trump’s Labor Secretary after public outrage over the Epstein agreement reached a fever pitch.

On Monday, defense lawyers for Mr. Epstein listed four additional Justice Department officials — two of whom now hold high-level government positions — who approved Mr. Epstein’s deal at the time.

Beyond Mr. Acosta, the agreement not to prosecute Mr. Epstein was approved by Mark Filip, then the deputy attorney general, and Alice Fisher, who at the time led the Justice Department’s criminal division. Both have since departed the government for private practice.

According to Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, the deal was also cleared by Sigal P. Mandelker and John Roth, who were both senior officials in the Justice Department.

Ms. Mandelker is currently an under secretary for the Department of the Treasury, and Mr. Roth serves as the Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security.

At the time, Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said, government officials acknowledged federal interest in the case but upheld Mr. Acosta’s authority to negotiate the deal.

Epstein Paid $350,000 to Possible Witnesses Against Him, Prosecutors Say

Defense Lawyers Seek Detention at Home for Jeffrey Epstein

Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. @BenWeiserNYT

Ali Watkins is a reporter on the Metro Desk, covering courts and social services. Previously, she covered national security in Washington for The Times, BuzzFeed and McClatchy Newspapers. @AliWatkins

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