UPDATE: Epstein denied bail, officials say he is an extreme flight risk

National News

NEW YORK (AP) — (715/19) The Latest on new sex-trafficking charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein (all times local):

UPDATE: NEW YORK (KTVE) – (7/19/19) A FEDERAL JUDGE MADE THE CALL TODAY that Epstein will remain in jail.

The 66-year-old multimillionaire faces multiple charges, accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls.

His lawyers made a case to allow Epstein to stay on house arrest in his massive upper east side mansion, but the judge agreed with prosecutors who said Epstein is an “extreme flight risk”.

Prosecutors provided what they called “Overwhelming” evidence that he was likely to flee.

In a safe in Epstein’s home, they found $70-thousand dollars in cash, several loose diamonds, and an expired fake passport.

UPDATE: NEW YORK (AP) – (7/15/19) Federal prosecutors, preparing for a bail fight Monday, say evidence against financier Jeffrey Epstein is growing “stronger by the day” after several more women contacted them in recent days to say he abused them when they were underage.

Prosecutors say Epstein, 66, is a flight risk and danger to the community and should remain incarcerated until he is tried on charges that he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s.

His lawyers counter that their client has not committed crimes since pleading guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution charges in Florida in 2008 and that the federal government is reneging on a 12-year-old deal not to prosecute him. They say he should be allowed to await trial under house arrest in his $77 million Manhattan mansion, with electronic monitoring.

In a written submission Friday to U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, prosecutors revealed new information about their investigation and why they perceive Epstein as dangerous.

They said several additional women in multiple jurisdictions had identified themselves to the government, claiming Epstein abused them when they were minors. Also, dozens of individuals have called the government to report information about Epstein and the charges he faces, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said they believe Epstein might have tried to influence witnesses after discovering that he had paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals, including a former employee, in the last year. That came after the Miami Herald reported the circumstances of his state court conviction in 2008, which led to a 13-month jail term and his deal to avoid federal prosecution .

“This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations,” prosecutors said.

The decade-old secret plea deal led to Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta’s resignation last week. Acosta came under renewed criticism following Epstein’s arrest over the 2008 non-prosecution agreement he oversaw as the U.S. attorney in Miami.

In addition to the charges in the indictment, prosecutors are also reviewing dozens of electronic files seized during a raid on Epstein’s residence after his July 6 arrest, finding even more photos than the hundreds or thousands of pictures of nude and seminude young women and girls they had reported prior to a court hearing a week ago.

In their submission to the judge, Epstein’s lawyers say their client has had a clean record since he began registering as a sex offender after his Florida conviction.

They said the accusations against Epstein are “outside the margins of federal criminal law” and don’t constitute sex trafficking since there were no allegations he “trafficked anybody for commercial profit; that he forced, coerced, defrauded, or enslaved anybody.”

Prosecutors said efforts by defense lawyers to characterize Epstein’s crimes as “simple prostitution” were “not only offensive but also utterly irrelevant given that federal law does not recognize the concept of a child prostitute — there are only trafficking victims — because a child cannot legally consent to being exploited.”


UPDATE: 3:20 p.m. (7/8/19)

Some of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers say they’re encouraged he’s been charged with sex trafficking.

Accuser Sarah Ransome says in a statement Monday that Epstein’s arrest “is a step in the right direction” for holding the wealthy registered sex offender accountable.

The 66-year-old Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday in his first court appearance following his weekend arrest. He will remain in jail at least until his July 15 bail hearing.

Epstein’s lawyers contend the charges involve allegations that arose in a Florida case more than a decade ago. Epstein struck a secret deal to avoid significant punishment in that case.

Virginia Guiffre praised federal prosecutors in New York for taking on Epstein and showing the case is “being taken in a serious way.”


3:10 p.m.

Jeffrey Epstein’s bail hearing won’t be held until next week, keeping him in jail at least until then.

Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to sex trafficking charges following his arrest over the weekend.

After a discussion among prosecutors and defense lawyers, Epstein’s bail hearing was moved from Thursday to Monday, July 15.

Prosecutors argue Epstein, a registered sex offender, is a significant flight risk. They want him jailed until trial.

The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

Epstein’s lawyers argued the matter had been settled in a Florida case involving similar charges a decade ago.


2:25 p.m.

Jeffrey Epstein has been ordered jailed at least until a bail hearing Thursday after he pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking charges.

He made his first court appearance Monday following his arrest over the weekend.

Prosecutors say Epstein, a registered sex offender, is a significant flight risk and are asking that he be detained until his trial.

They say he has three active U.S. passports and has frequently traveled in and out of the country on his private jet.

The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

Prosecutors said several alleged victims have come forward since Epstein’s arrest.

Epstein’s lawyers argued the matter had been settled in a Florida case involving similar charges a decade ago.


1:40 p.m.

Financier Jeffrey Epstein was brought into federal court in Manhattan on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.

Epstein arrived at court Monday afternoon in a blue jail uniform.

The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

Prosecutors say they found a trove of “nude photographs of what appeared to be underage girls” while executing a search warrant at his Manhattan mansion following his arrest Saturday.

He was being held at the federal lockup in Manhattan.

Epstein’s lawyer didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.


1:05 p.m.

Prosecutors say Jeffrey Epstein kept perhaps thousands of sexually suggestive photographs at his Manhattan mansion.

Officials say in court papers Monday that the pictures included some on CDs with handwritten labels including “Misc nudes 1,” ”Girl pics nude” and the names of specific young women.

Prosecutors say federal agents found some of the photos “of young-looking women or girls” in a locked safe while searching the seven-story town house after the wealthy financier’s arrest Saturday on sex trafficking charges.

The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of girls from 2002 to 2005.

Prosecutors say the lawyer for one of the girls pictured told them the girl was underage when the photos were taken.

It’s not clear whether all the photos depict girls involved in the alleged sex trafficking operation.

Epstein’s lawyer didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.


11:40 a.m.

Prosecutors say federal agents investigating wealthy sex offender Jeffrey Epstein found “nude photographs of what appeared to be underage girls” while searching his Manhattan mansion.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said at a press conference Monday agents discovered the photos while executing a search warrant following Epstein’s arrest Saturday on sex trafficking charges.

The 66-year-old Epstein is accused of creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.

Messages were sent to his defense attorney seeking comment.

Epstein was arrested at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after his private jet landed from Paris.

He is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later Monday.

Berman said prosecutors will ask that he remain jailed pending trial, arguing he is a flight risk.


9:50 a.m.

Federal prosecutors announced sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Court documents unsealed Monday show Epstein is charged with creating and maintaining a network that allowed him to sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls.

The alleged victims were as young as 14 at the time.

Epstein was taken into custody on Saturday.

Authorities say he paid underage girls for massages and then molested them at his homes in Florida and New York in the early 2000s.

Epstein is expected to appear in Manhattan federal court later Monday.

Messages were sent to his defense attorney seeking comment.


1:30 a.m.

Eleven years after letting Jeffrey Epstein off lightly with a once-secret plea deal, the U.S. government is taking another run at putting the wealthy sex offender behind bars.

Law enforcement officials say Epstein was arrested over the weekend on new sex-trafficking charges and is expected to make his first court appearance in New York City on Monday.

Prosecutors are likely to argue that he is a flight risk and should remain in jail instead of being released on bail pending trial.

One law enforcement official told The Associated Press the case deals with allegations that Epstein paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his homes in Florida and New York in the early 2000s.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the pending case.


NEW YORK (AP) — (7/8/19) A decade after they were accused of letting Jeffrey Epstein off the hook, federal prosecutors made another run at putting the billionaire financier behind bars on sex allegations, charging him Monday with abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

The 66-year-old hedge fund manager who once socialized with some of the world’s most powerful people was charged in a newly unsealed indictment with sex trafficking and conspiracy and could get up to 45 years in prison.

Prosecutors said the evidence included a “vast trove” of hundreds or even thousands of lewd photographs of young women or girls, discovered in a search of his New York mansion.

Epstein, who was arrested over the weekend as he arrived in the U.S. from Paris aboard his private jet, was brought into court Monday in a blue jail uniform, his hair disheveled, and pleaded not guilty. His lawyers argued that the matter had been settled in 2008 with a plea agreement in Florida involving similar allegations.

“This is ancient stuff,” Epstein attorney Reid Weingarten said in court, calling the case essentially a “redo” by the government.

The defendant was ordered jailed for a bail hearing next Monday, when prosecutors plan to argue that the rich world traveler might flee if released.

Epstein was accused of paying underage girls hundreds of dollars in cash for massages and then molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York from 2002 through 2005.

He “intentionally sought out minors and knew that many of his victims were in fact under the age of 18,” prosecutors said. He also allegedly paid some of his victims to recruit additional girls.

“In this way, Epstein created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit in locations including New York and Palm Beach,” prosecutors said.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman of New York said that the non-prosecution agreement that spared Epstein from a heavy prison sentence a decade ago is binding only on federal prosecutors in Florida, where the deal was made, not on authorities in New York.

“While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, it is still profoundly important to the many alleged victims — now young women,” Berman said. “They deserve their day in court. We are proud to be standing up for them by bringing this indictment.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller said that while there is some overlap between the Florida and New York cases, one of the counts against Epstein is based entirely on New York victims.

Federal authorities said new accusers have come forward since Epstein’s arrest, and they urged other possible victims to contact the FBI.

Some of Epstein’s accusers welcomed the indictment.

“The news of my abuser’s arrest today is a step in the right direction to finally hold Epstein accountable for his crimes and restore my faith that power and money can’t triumph over justice,” Sarah Ransome said through her lawyer.

Prosecutors in New York are seeking the forfeiture of Epstein’s mansion, a seven-story, 21,000-square-foot townhouse less than a block from Central Park. The home, formerly a prep school, is across the street from a home owned by Bill Cosby and has been valued at approximately $77 million.

Epstein, who is unmarried and whose friends have included President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew, was arrested Saturday at an airport in New Jersey, just outside New York City. Prosecutors said they would oppose his release on bail.

“He has enormous wealth. The charges are very serious and carry with them a maximum sentence of 45 years, which to someone of Epstein’s age is basically a life sentence,” Berman said, “so we think he has every incentive to try and flee the jurisdiction.”

Epstein’s arrest came amid increased #MeToo-era scrutiny of the 2008 non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein to maintain his jet-set lifestyle that includes a Bentley and homes in Paris and the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he owns an island.

Under the once-secret deal — overseen by Alexander Acosta, who was the U.S. attorney in Miami at the time and is now Trump’s labor secretary — Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He avoided a possible life sentence and served 13 months in jail, during which he was allowed out to go to his office during the day.

The deal also required that he reach financial settlements with dozens of his alleged victims and register as a sex offender.

Acosta has defended the agreement as appropriate, though the White House said in February that it was looking into his handling of the case.

The new charges were brought by the public corruption unit within the U.S. attorney’s office in New York, which normally handles cases against politicians. Berman would not comment on why that was so and cautioned against reading anything into it.

Attorney General William Barr declined to comment on Epstein’s case and would not say offer an opinion whether federal prosecutors mishandled it initially, saying he has recused himself from the matter.

According to court records in Florida, authorities say at least 40 underage girls were brought into Epstein’s Palm Beach mansion for sexual encounters after being recruited around the world.

Some of Epstein’s alleged victims have accused Prince Andrew and former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz with taking part in Epstein’s sex ring. Buckingham Palace has vehemently denied any involvement by Andrew, and Dershowitz has accused the victims of lying about him.

The non-prosecution agreement, examined in detail in a series of stories in The Miami Herald, is being challenged in federal court in Florida. A federal judge ruled earlier this year that Epstein’s victims should have been consulted under the law about the agreement, and he is now weighing whether to invalidate it.

Federal prosecutors recently filed court papers in the Florida case contending the deal must stand.

“The past cannot be undone; the government committed itself to the NPA, and the parties have not disputed that Epstein complied with its provisions,” prosecutors wrote.

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