Federal prosecutors said Friday that accused sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein should stay locked up until trial because he’s willing to use “intimidation and aggressive tactics”—including recently wiring $350,000 to former accomplices.
“Epstein’s efforts to influence witnesses continue to this day,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Friday evening in a court filing in response to the financier’s request to be released on bail. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
“As in the past, within recent months, he paid significant amounts of money to influence individuals who were close to him during the time period charged in this case and who might be witnesses against him at a trial,” prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the payments were part of a pattern that stretched back to November 2018, when the Miami Herald started publishing its investigation of Epstein and his 2007 plea deal.
Just two days after the newspaper’s stories began to appear, Epstein “wired $100,000 from a trust account he controlled to an individual named as a possible co-conspirator,” prosecutors wrote.
Three days later, they noted, he “wired $250,000 from the same trust account to another individual named as a possible co-conspirator,” they said.
Prosecutors say the person who received the $250,000 is an Epstein employee who allegedly helped procure underage girls for him.
Epstein, 66, was accused in a federal indictment unsealed in Manhattan this week of paying dozens of underage girls to give him nude massages that included sex acts and turning some of those girls into recruiters for him.
The new charges come more than a decade after Epstein was investigated for allegedly sex-trafficking dozens of girls in Florida but was allowed to plead guilty to a state prosecution charge that yielded just 13 months in jail, much of it on work release.
That plea deal granted immunity to four women and any “potential co-conspirators,” who were identified in the document as “including but not limited to Sarah Kellen, Adriana Ross, Lesley Groff, or Nadia Marcinkova.”
It’s not clear if any of those women were the co-conspirators that New York prosecutors referred to in their letter to the court.
Since being arrested on Saturday, the politically connected money manager and former Dalton math teacher has pleaded not guilty and offered to put up his $77 million Manhattan mansion and private jet to get out of a Manhattan jail and wait for trial on house arrest.
But prosecutors said his international holdings and wealth mean he’s an extreme flight risk and that he has little to lose by leaving the home and plane behind in exchange for his freedom.
Epstein is often referred to as a billionaire, but the extent of his wealth is murky. Prosecutors said records show he worth more than $500 million and earns $10 million a year.
Epstein’s willingness to obstruct justice goes back more than a decade, prosecutors said.
They noted that when Epstein was initially investigated for sex-trafficking in Florida, and before he was allowed to plead guilty in 2008 to a state prostitution rap, the parent of one of his accusers reported being driven off the road by his private investigator.
“The Police Report provides further information regarding victim and witness threats and intimidation reported against an individual who was directly in contact with an assistant of the defendant, followed ‘immediately’ by a call to that same individual from a phone number associated with the defendant’s businesses and associates,” the prosecution filing says.
“Separately, and in addition, there are also extensive allegations of obstruction and tampering in connection with civil lawsuits brought against the defendant following his 2008 conviction,” they wrote.
“Moreover, police reports suggest that an associate of Epstein’s was offering to buy victims’ silence during the course of the prior investigation. Specifically, one victim reported that ‘she was personally contacted through a source that has maintained contact with Epstein,’ who ‘assured [the victim] that she would receive monetary compensation for her assistance in not cooperating with law enforcement.’
“Indeed, the victim reported having been told: ‘Those who help him will be compensated and those who hurt him will be dealt with.’”
Epstein has been in a federal jail in Manhattan since he was arrested Saturday night after his private plane landed in New Jersey from Paris. His attorneys have indicated they will seek to have the indictment against him thrown out with the argument that it violates the 2007 non-prosecution agreement with the feds in Florida.
The prosecutor who signed off on that deal was U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta, who went on to become President Trump’s labor secretary but resigned Friday amid a growing firestorm over his actions in the Epstein case.