(Bloomberg) -- As two alleged victims of Jeffrey Epstein urged a judge to keep him locked up, prosecutors said they had found piles of cash, dozens of diamonds and an expired foreign passport, with Epstein’s picture and a different name, in a safe in his Manhattan mansion.
“He’s a scary person to have walking the street,” Courtney Wild, who claims Epstein sexually abused her at 14, said at his bail hearing Monday in Manhattan. She asked U.S. District Judge Richard Berman to deny bail to the 66-year-old money manager and keep him locked up “for the safety of any other girls who are going through what I’m going through.”
Epstein, arrested in New Jersey on July 6 after stepping off his private jet from Paris and charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy, will learn on Thursday morning whether he will return to his home or to the jail he now shares with Paul Manafort and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, is accused of molesting girls from 2002 to 2005 and could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted.
“He was inappropriate with me,” Annie Farmer told the judge at the hearing, trembling as she spoke and accompanied by her lawyer, David Boies. “I’d prefer not to go into the details of that at this time.”
Boies represents three women who say Epstein molested them when they were girls.
Epstein’s lawyers said their client was being prosecuted a second time for acts that ended in 2005 and were resolved in a non-prosecution agreement in 2007. Since then, they argued, Epstein had engaged in “14 years of self-discipline,” hadn’t broken the law and had complied with all the requirements of his sex-offender status. They noted that other prominent defendants, including Bernard Madoff, had been released on bail and appeared in court.
Prosecutors, pointing to Epstein’s wealth, told Berman no conditions would ensure his appearance and that the bail terms he has proposed -- a “substantial” bond, a GPS ankle bracelet and confinement to his home under watch by a “trustee” -- would establish a “gilded cage” from which he could still influence witnesses, as they claim he has as recently as December.
Arguing that Epstein is a flight risk, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that in addition to the trove of cash and diamonds FBI agents found were works of art he hadn’t accounted for in a one-page financial-disclosure statement he filed with the court. Berman called the disclosure “cursory,” saying that it “does not fully assist me” in deciding whether to free Epstein on bail or remand him to the Metropolitan Correctional Center.
In the statement, Epstein said his assets include $57 million in cash, $14 million in fixed income, $113 million in equities and $195 million held in hedge funds and private equity. The values of his six homes range from $8.7 million in France to a $64 million private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. All told, he says, he’s worth $559 million.
Berman seemed skeptical of arguments that Epstein must be released to adequately prepare a defense. The judge said other prominent defendants had been able to consult their lawyers while detained and noted that the charges in this case typically don’t allow for bail. He said he would rule Thursday morning at 9:30 on Epstein’s request to remain confined to his Manhattan mansion.
Prosecutors said Epstein had made two payments totaling $350,000 two days after the Miami Herald published a series on his alleged crimes in November. Epstein’s lawyer Martin Weinberg said there had been no effort to derail any investigation and that these were merely payments to a former employee and a friend.
“This is not witness tampering simply because the Miami Herald wrote an article,” Weinberg said.
Boies told Berman he had a civil suit pending against Epstein at the time and that after the fund manager made the payments, witnesses who had been cooperating suddenly no longer spoke to him. Boies then stood alongside Farmer, who approached the courtroom podium and stopped about five feet from Epstein to speak.
“I was 16 years old when I had the misfortune of meeting Jeffrey Epstein in New York,” Farmer said. “He later flew me to New Mexico. I want to voice my support that he not be set free.”
Trove of Photos
Noting that Weinberg had argued that his client’s wealth had been an “incentive” to many women to claim to be victims, she said instead it had made it harder to come forward against Epstein and his team of lawyers.
“It’s the opposite,” she said. “His wealth and privilege would often make it more difficult.”
She disputed Weinberg’s argument that Epstein had engaged in “self-discipline” after winning the non-prosecution agreement, noting that FBI agents said they had turned up hundreds and perhaps thousands of pictures of nude women and girls at his home.
“The victims in these photos are continuing to be victimized,” Farmer said.
The case is U.S. v. Epstein, 19-cr-00490, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
(Updates with filing on Epstein’s assets in fourth paragraph under Epstein’s Wealth.)
--With assistance from Gerald Porter Jr..
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