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Jeffrey Epstein’s Lawyers Argue He’s Not A Flight Risk, Ask For Home Detention


Jeffrey Epstein’s private island, Little St. James a.k.a. “Pedophile Island.” (Gianfranco Gaglione/AP/Shutterstock)

Alleged sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein reportedly owns somewhere between 15 and 37 vehicles, at least one plane, and houses in New Mexico, Florida, New York, and Paris, in addition to a private island near St. Thomas. Prosecutors believe that the staggering volume of egress routes available to the mega-wealthy financier make him a distinct and dangerous flight risk, and want him held without bail in the Metropolitan Correctional Center until trial.

Epstein’s lawyers disagree, and have asked that the accused pedophile await his day in court while confined to his $77 million Upper East Side townhouse. They say he is “entitled” to bail, and further, that the charges against him are “akin to consumer or purchaser behavior,” and not, you know, luring children into a sex ring. On Thursday, the NY Times reports, Epstein “asked a federal judge to allow him to use some of his wealth to stay out of jail while he awaits trial,” specifically, he “pledged to put up his palatial Manhattan townhouse and his private jet as collateral.”

To recap, Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy charges on Monday, after prosecutors indicted him for allegedly having enticed “dozens of minors” into various sex acts at his Manhattan and Palm Beach homes. Between 2002 and 2005, prosecutors say, Epstein deliberately sought out economically “vulnerable” young women under the age of 18, coercing them into stripping either fully or partially nude and giving him massages for a few hundred dollars in cash. During these sessions, they contend, Epstein would often masturbate; he would sometimes touch the girls, or make them touch him, or use sex toys on them. On various occasions, some of the young women he enlisted into his alleged sex ring—via the help of other young women who functioned as recruiters—say he “forcefully raped” them.

The allegations against Epstein aren’t anything new—rumors of his behavior have cycled around for years, and Florida investigators even built a case against him around 2006. In 2007, however, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta (then a U.S. Attorney) offered the financier a plea deal that whittled his sentence down from life in prison to just over a year in jail, with a work release. Epstein seems to have offered up information on his former employer, Bear Stearns, around the time of the 2008 crash, but while we don’t have the details, Acosta has defended his choices. He has not, however, apologized to Epstein’s victims.

Additionally, the NY Post reports that the NYPD hasn’t required Epstein “to check in since he registered as a sex offender in New York over the controversial 2008 plea bargain he struck in Florida amid allegations he sexually abused scores of underage girls in his Palm Beach mansion.” At the time, a Manhattan judge ordered to check in every 90 days; he has not done so once.

As details about Epstein’s personal and professional life continue to leak out—his frightening home decor choices; whispers about the soundproof temple he built on his private “Pedophile Island,” which only locks from the outside; the actual magnitude of his alleged fortune; the legitimacy of his alleged charitable contributions—scrutiny on his relationships has also intensified.

Epstein hung around with Hollywood celebrities, high-ranking politicians (Bill Clinton, for example), and British royalty, but his friendship with President Donald Trump may deserve special attention. Trump has said that he and Epstein had a falling out “15 years ago,” around 2005, and that he’s “not a fan” of the sex offender. But throughout the 1990s and into the early aughts—recall, Trump described Epstein as a “terrific guy” who liked “beautiful women … on the younger side” in 2002—the pair were frequently documented partying together, and Trump seems to have visited Epstein’s UES mansion with fair regularity. And as the Washington Post reports, Epstein’s little black book featured 14 Trump numbers around the time of the plea deal:

[Donald] Trump; his wife, Melania; his longtime personal assistant, Norma Foerderer; his houseman; and his security officer. Other Trumps in the book include the president’s brother Robert and his wife, Blaine; the president’s ex-wife Ivana; and their daughter, Ivanka.

As the Post points out, possession of numbers doesn’t mean their owners knew about, or were involved in, any child sex trafficking or statutory rape that may have been occurring on Epstein properties. But certain among the defendant’s alleged victims have suggested that Epstein, in an effort to get dirt on his peers, tried to get other powerful men to engage in sex acts with the girls in his employ.

If convicted, Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison, which—for a 66-year-old—would effectively mean a life sentence. Authorities urge anyone with information on, or firsthand experience with, Epstein’s alleged crimes to contact the Victim and Witness Services at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

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