Jeffrey Epstein won’t find out if he’s going to be released on bail until July 18, even as prosecutors argued that the multimillionaire businessman presents a flight risk and could endanger his accusers unless he remains in jail.
At a hearing in Manhattan federal court on Monday, Epstein’s legal team said their client is willing to pay for security and a global monitoring system to ensure he doesn’t flee. He is offering to be confined to his home in New York’s Upper East Side and has agreed to put his $77 million mansion and a private jet up as bail.
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Prosecutor Alex Rossmiller argued that given his wealth, Epstein poses an “extraordinary risk of flight.” He added that Epstein has previously engaged in witness tampering and could jeopardize the safety of his accusers. Prosecutors said they recently discovered that Epstein paid $350,000 to potential witnesses. Rossmiller said that the bail proposal that Epstein’s team is making would allow him to live in a “gilded cage.”
Epstein is accused of sexually abusing underage girls as young as 14 years old and collecting child pornography. Epstein has pled not guilty. If convicted, he faces up to 45 years in jail. At the hearing, Epstein’s lawyers argued that he had the right to be out on bail in order to prepare his defense. Judge Richard Berman said he will decide whether or not Epstein will make bail later this week.
Epstein was previously convicted in 2008 of soliciting an underage girl for prostitution, and entered a controversial plea deal in which he served just over a year in custody. That deal was struck by Alexander Acosta, a former U.S. attorney who resigned last week as secretary of labor amid a firestorm of criticism for overseeing such a light punishment for a man who allegedly abused dozens of women. Under the previous agreement, Epstein had to register as a sex offender, but was able to serve out much of his time in work release.
Two of Epstein’s accusers, Annie Farmer and Courtney Wild, spoke at the hearing, imploring the judge not release the hedge fund manager on bail.
“He’s a scary person to be walking the streets,” said Wild.
Epstein wore a navy blue prison uniform to Monday’s hearing, where he was flanked by his lawyers. The bail hearing drew intense media interest, forcing court officials to open an overflow room to accommodate reporters.
The 66-year old Epstein travelled in high-flying circles, counting former President Bill Clinton and President Donald Trump among his friends. His social network also reportedly included the likes of Prince Andrew, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, Mick Jagger, and publicist Peggy Siegal, who helped Epstein attend Hollywood screenings and premieres. Epstein’s net worth is estimated at over $500 million.
At the hearing on Monday, Rossmiller said the number of accusers against Epstein has continued to grow, but he declined to say how many people are making claims against the businessman. Since Epstein’s arrest on July 6, Rossmiller said prosecutors have been able to “dramatically expand” their investigation and added that the case against Epstein is “getting stronger every single day.”
Updated: 12:31 p.m. ET