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Date TimeJuly 15, 2019
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Jeffrey Epstein: diamonds, cash and fake passport found in raid, prosecutors say
Accusers ask judge not to release him before trial and prosecutors say ‘many individuals’ have come forward who say they are victimsIn response papers filed on Friday, prosecutors said Jeffrey Epstein is dangerous and poised to flee. Photograph: Handout/ReutersTwo Jeffrey Epstein accusers offered emotional entreaties in court on Monday, asking a judge not to release the financier before his trial on sex trafficking charges.One alleged victim, who identified herself as Courtney Wild, said: “I was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein, starting at the age of 14.”The financier has been detained in an especially secure part of Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal jail in lower Manhattan, since his arrest earlier this month for the alleged sex trafficking of minors.Epstein, 66, pleaded not guilty last week. He appeared in court on Monday over his request for house arrest while awaiting trial – which prosecutors vehemently oppose. Judge Richard Berman did not issue a decision, saying he would do so on Thursday.Prosecutor Alex Rossmiller said the case was getting stronger. Since the investigation, which he described as a “covert” effort that took months, was unsealed, he said “many individuals” who have identified themselves as victims or witnesses have come forward.Rossmiller, who has repeatedly said Epstein’s wealth would make it possible for him to flee, also cited unknown factors surrounding Epstein’s finances.During a search of Epstein’s Manhattan home, authorities found a “locked safe” containing cash, diamonds and an expired passport apparently with Epstein’s picture but a “name that was not his”. The passport, from the early 1980s, was from a “foreign country” and listed Epstein’s country of residence as “Saudi Arabia”.It was also revealed in court that Epstein’s financial information disclosure, necessary for his bail request, ran to just one page.Rossmiller said the document lacked information on Epstein’s assets, such as diamonds and art, “both of which were [found] in abundance” at his home.The one-page document was unsealed. It listed Epstein’s net worth as $559,120,954, comprised of nearly $195m in hedge funds and private equity, $113m in equities, $57m in cash and $14m in fixed income, with six properties comprising the remainder.The document also said the market value of his East 71st Street mansion was just under $56m, not $77m, as prosecutors have claimed.Wild said publicity had not necessarily made it easier to come forward, as Epstein’s attorneys have argued in court.“He’s a scary person to have walking the streets,” she said, with a reserved air, wearing a white shirt and black trousers as she addressed the judge.The second accuser, Annie Farmer, stood and said: “I was 16 years old when I had the misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein here in New York.”She said it was difficult to come forward because of Epstein’s “wealth and privilege”. Berman asked if she was saying that Epstein engaged in sexual contact with her.She said: “He was inappropriate with me.”The judge asked if she would go into details.She said: “I would prefer not to go into the details at this time.”The attorney David Boies, who represents some Epstein accusers, told the Guardian: “This is a good judge and I know he will do what he considers the right thing.”Lawyers for Epstein, who is a registered sex offender following a case in Florida 11 years ago, insist home detention and electronic monitoring and a mortgage-backed bond on his Manhattan mansion will be enough to stop him fleeing the country.Since his 2008 guilty plea to state prostitution charges and subsequent 13 months behind bars, he has been a law-abiding citizen, they have argued.Pressed by Berman on whether his clean post-incarceration record really indicates that he will stay out of trouble, Epstein lawyer Martin Weinberg said: “It’s not like he’s an out-of-control rapist.“He does not fit within the paradigm,” Weinberg added.Epstein’s legal team said they would offer his private jet as collateral and a trustee or trustees could be appointed to live in Epstein’s residence and report any violation. Weinberg also said Epstein would be willing to back his pretrial release with $100m.Prosecutors cited the potentially thousands of nude and seminude photographs of young females authorities found while searching his home as proof that Epstein remained dangerous. Rossmiller said authorities had identified at least one person in those photos “who has identified herself as a victim”.Prosecutors maintained that electronic monitoring would just shorten a head start if Epstein decided to flee and dismissed his house arrest pitch as a request to live in a “gilded cage”.They also alleged that Epstein wired several hundred thousands of dollars “to influence” two possible witnesses.Multiple accusers have asked prosecutors to seek Epstein’s detention throughout his case, prosecutors said.Epstein, who purportedly had ties to Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew and other powerful men, is charged in a 13-page indictment with sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. It is alleged that some victims were just 14 years old.Prosecutors contend that from 2002 to 2005, Epstein “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls” and paid some victims to recruit others “in order to maintain and increase his supply of victims”.These accusers were lured to provide massages “which would be performed nude or partially nude”, the indictment claimed, saying these massages would turn “increasingly sexual in nature, and would typically include one or more sex acts”.Prosecutors have also claimed that at Epstein’s New York home, “the massage room is still set up the same way it was 15 years ago”, with sex paraphernalia and a massage table.The New York case comes amid increasing scrutiny of Epstein’s prior case that was spurred by a bombshell Miami Herald investigation.In 2007, Epstein and the US attorney’s office in Miami, then led by Alexander Acosta, brokered a deal that ended a federal investigation into allegations involving at least 40 teenage girls.Acosta resigned as Trump’s labor secretary on Friday, following extensive criticism. Weinberg said the deal was approved by the justice department’s former criminal division head, as well as a former deputy attorney general.




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