In a memorandum asking a federal judge to deny bail to pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors say the multimillionaire transferred $350,000 to two people who “might be witnesses against him at a trial” shortly after the Miami Herald published an investigation of Epstein’s crimes late last year.
According to the memo, filed by the office of U.S. Attorney
Geoffrey S. Berman, Epstein has in the past attempted to influence witnesses
against him, and those efforts “continue to this day.” Two days after the Herald began publishing its “Perversion
of Justice” series last November, Epstein wired $100,000 from a trust account
to “an individual named as a possible co-conspirator” in a non-prosecution
agreement that Epstein obtained in 2008 from former
federal prosecutor Alex Acosta.
on Friday as the Trump administration’s labor secretary.
Three days after the first money transfer, Epstein wired an
additional $250,000 from the same account in early December to a second
individual also described as a possible co-conspirator and one of Epstein’s
employees, prosecutors allege. The payments suggest “the defendant was
attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information
against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations.”
The memo responds to a request
filed Thursday by Epstein’s lawyers seeking his release on bail pending
trial. Epstein, 66, was
arrested last Saturday and charged with one count of sex trafficking of
minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors.
Additional charges could be pending as more victims come forward.
Epstein’s lawyers offered rather outlandish arguments as to
why he should be released or placed under house arrest pending trial. Among
them, his attorneys claimed that Epstein’s crimes—which include allegedly operating
a pyramid scheme for years that involved possibly hundreds of minors, whom he and
others sexually abused—do not amount to trafficking.
The lawyers also claimed, rather disingenuously, that
Epstein had led a “spotless 14-year record of walking the straight and narrow…”
A search by authorities of Epstein’s New York mansion last weekend turned up
hundreds, and possibly thousands, of lewd photographs, many of them likely of minors.
Friday’s memorandum from prosecutors offers a lengthy rebuttal
to his lawyers’ arguments.
Epstein “faces substantial evidence of his guilt, founded on
the corroborated testimony of numerous victims,” prosecutors argued, “and this
case presents the very real possibility that he will go to prison for the rest
of his life.”
They also noted that Epstein, through his lawyers,
“continues to evidence a complete lack of appreciation for the gravity of the
offenses with which he is charged.”
Another reason is that multiple victims in the case have
asked prosecutors to seek Epstein’s pretrial detention, pursuant to the Crime
Victims’ Rights Act. “They have specifically conveyed to the Government that
they would be fearful for their safety if the defendant were released,”
Epstein also is a significant flight risk, prosecutors said.
They noted that he has about $500 million linked to one unnamed financial
institution, and while it’s not clear if his assets are located entirely in the
U.S. or not, nothing would prevent him from transferring assets out of the
country, prosecutors said.
“The defendant is an incredibly sophisticated financial
actor with decades of experience in the industry and significant ties to
financial institutions and actors around the world,” the memo states. “He could
easily transfer funds and holdings on a moment’s [notice] to places where the
Government would never find them…”
Epstein earns about $10 million
a year, they also noted.
“Pretrial Services, victims, and the Government all
recommend pretrial detention due to the unusual and concerning confluence of
factors in this case, including the defendant’s extraordinary wealth,
demonstrated willingness to interfere with victims and witnesses, continued
possession of lewd photographs of young females, and both the incentive and
means to flee prosecution,” prosecutors concluded.
U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, from the Southern
District of New York, is expected to take up the bail issue on Monday.