Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers said Tuesday that an expired foreign passport found in his safe—issued in Austria, with a fake name and a Saudi Arabian address—was only for “personal protection.” In a court filing, the lawyers say the financier—“an affluent member of the Jewish faith”— acquired the travel document in the 1980s when hijacking of planes in the Middle East was common. “The passport was for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnapers [sic], hijackers or terrorists should violent episodes occur.” Prosecutors have cited the expired passport as evidence that Epstein is a flight risk and should stay behind bars until his sex-trafficking trial. In their own filing, they said $70,000 in cash and 48 small, loose diamonds and a diamond ring were also found in the safe during a raid on Epstein’s Manhattan mansion. “Such ready cash and loose diamonds are consistent with the capability to leave the jurisdiction at a moment’s notice,” they wrote.
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