Jeffrey Epstein charged with running sex trafficking ring
In advance of the scheduled bail hearing this afternoon, US prosecutors submitted a letter to the court requesting Epstein be detained pending trial, calling the multi-millionaire "an extraordinary risk of flight."
In the letter, prosecutors said Epstein “cannot meet his burden of overcoming the presumption that there is no combination of conditions that would reasonably assure his continued appearance in this case or protect the safety of the community were he to be released.”
“If allowed to remain out on bail, the defendant could attempt to pressure and intimidate witnesses and potential witnesses in this case, including victims and their families, and otherwise attempt to obstruct justice,” the letter says.
Investigators said in their memo that Epstein possesses three US passports, two private jets, and at least 15 cars.
What police found when they raided Epstein's mansion: The US Attorney's Office also provided detail on what was seized during its raid of Epstein's NYC mansion, which they said is worth $77 million.
Prosecutors alleged Epstein “has continued to maintain a vast trove of lewd photographs of young-looking women or girls in his Manhattan mansion.”
Investigators said they recovered “at least hundreds—and perhaps thousands—of sexually suggestive photographs of fully- or partially nude females”
They continued: "Some of the nude or partially-nude photographs appear to be of underage girls, including at least one girl who, according to her counsel, was underage at the time the relevant photographs were taken."
"Some of the photographs referenced herein were discovered in a locked safe, in which law enforcement officers also found compact discs with hand-written labels including the following: “Young [Name] + [Name],” “Misc nudes 1,” and “Girl pics nude.”
Multi-millionaire Jeffrey Epstein is accused of operating a sex trafficking ring and paying young girls to engage in sex acts with him.
In an indictment that was unsealed today, prosecutors outline charges that carry a 45-year maximum sentence if Epstein is convicted.
What we know about the arrest:
- Epstein was arrested on Saturday at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after his private plane landed from Paris, France.
- He is currently being held at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
What the court documents say:
- The crimes took place between 2002 and 2005 at Epstein's Upper East Side home and his estate in Palm Beach, the indictment said.
- Epstein allegedly knew some of the girls were underage because they told him how old they were.
- Girls were brought to a room with a massage table and told to give Epstein a massage, the indictment said. Before they started, they were instructed to be nude or semi-nude.
- Epstein escalated the encounters by asking victims to touch him while he masturbated and touched the victim's genitals, according to the indictment.
- Sometimes Epstein would personally reach out to girls to set up appointments, and other times he would ask his employees to schedule appointments for him, the indictment said.
- Epstein allegedly would pay girls hundreds of dollars in cash to engage in sex acts with him. He would also give money to girls if they recruited new girls to come to Epstein’s residence, the indictment said.
- He was able to create a “vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit, often on a daily basis,” according the US attorney’s office.
What prosecutors said so far:
- Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said prosecutors are asking Epstein be detained until trial. They are arguing Epstein is a “significant flight risk” because of his wealth and access to planes.
- Prosecutors are calling for other victims or people with information to come forward.
- Berman said the victims are "entitled to their day in court."
Agents executing a search warrant of Epstein’s mansion in New York City recovered and seized “evidence, including nude photographs of what appeared to be underage girls,” US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said his office is "not bound" by the plea deal Epstein struck years ago with federal prosecutors in Florida who were investigating him for similar crimes.
“Jeffrey Epstein entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the Southern District of Florida," Berman said. "That agreement only binds, by its terms, only binds the Southern District of Florida. The Southern District of New York is not bound by that agreement and is not a signatory to that agreement.”
In that 2007 agreement, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida, and served a 13-month sentence, which was partly completed through work release.
The indictment against Epstein in New York comes months after a federal judge ruled the agreement in Florida violated federal law.
Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said the charges against Jeffrey Epstein carry a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison.
"The charges are very serious, and they carry a maximum of 45 years in jail, which to someone of Epstein's age is basically a life sentence," he said.
Berman said Epstein is a "significant flight risk" because of both his "enormous wealth" and because of the seriousness of the charges.
"We think he has every incentive to try and flee the jurisdiction. And when you have two planes and you live much of the year abroad, you know, we think that's a very real risk," he said.
Prosecutors are calling for other victims or anyone with information about Jeffrey Epstein to come forward.
“If you believe you are a victim of this man, Jeffrey Epstein, or you have evidence or information relating to the conduct alleged in the indictment unsealed today, we want to hear from you," Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said.
Epstein is charged with operating a sex-trafficking ring and paying young girls to engage in sex acts. Berman said his office is proud to bring the indictment and stand up for victims.
“While the charged conduct is from a number of years ago, the victims – then children and now young women – are no less entitled to their day in court,” he said.
Prosecutors are asking that Jeffrey Epstein be detained until trial, Geoffrey Berman, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said at a news conference.
Berman said Epstein is being held at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was arrested on Saturday at the Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. His private plane had just landed from Paris, France.