Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys propose home detention

Attorney: Epstein had improper sexual contact with woman while in jail
Palm Beach Sheriff's Office via CNN
Florida-based billionaire Jeffrey Epstein 

Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein proposed a bail package on Thursday that would allow the multimillionaire alleged sex trafficker to remain out of jail pending trial and live instead in home detention at his Upper East Side mansion, one of the largest residences in Manhattan and valued at $77 million, according to court documents.

The arrangement — sure to draw the scrutiny of prosecutors, who have already asked a judge to have him detained without bail — also would put Epstein under electronic monitoring by GPS, require him to post a “substantial” personal recognizance bond secured by his Manhattan home, and deregister and ground his private jet.

The Manhattan US Attorney’s office accuses the financier of having run a sex-trafficking enterprise in which he paid hundreds of dollars in cash to girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his Upper East Side home and his estate in Palm Beach, worked with employees and associates who would lure the girls to his residences, and paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.

An indictment unsealed Monday charged him with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors related to conduct that occurred between 2002 and 2005. Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, is currently being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal detention center in lower Manhattan.

A judge has scheduled his bail hearing for Monday.

Along with home detention, Epstein’s lawyers propose that he consent to US extradition from any country, require anyone who enters his New York home aside from his attorneys to have prior approval from federal authorities and have a live-in court-appointed trustee who would be required to report violations of his bail conditions.

Prosecutors, however, have said both in a written bail memorandum and in court that Epstein, 66, is a substantial flight risk.

“He is a man of nearly infinite means, your honor,” Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller told a judge on Monday, “and, as set forth in our submission, he has tremendous incentives to use those means to flee prosecution.”

Citing his wealth, with luxury properties around the world, including a private island he owns in the Caribbean, and the seriousness of the charges he faces, prosecutors wrote to the court that “he 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.”

In the court filing, Epstein’s lawyers appeared to recognize that their client, widely vilified in the public domain since his arrest, and even before it, is far from a sympathetic figure. But they urged the judge to set that aside, saying Epstein’s bail determination should be based on the merits, “no matter how much rhetoric and hyperbole the government and media pile on a presumptively innocent citizen.”

“Popular condemnation aside, compelling legal issues stand between Mr. Epstein and any possible conviction on the allegations of conduct from 14 to 17 years ago pressed in the indictment,” his attorneys wrote.

They also argue that Epstein shouldn’t be detained because he has complied with his registration and reporting obligations as a convicted sex offender. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to state prostitution charges in Florida as part of a non-prosecution agreement he struck with federal prosecutors — which is likely to be the subject of a contentious legal battle in the New York case — and as a result he served 13 months in jail and was required to register as a sex offender.

His lawyers said Thursday that his “spotless 14-year record of walking the straight and narrow, complemented by an exemplary 10-year history of diligent sex offender registration and reporting, is compelling proof he was able, once the prior investigation commenced, to conform his conduct to the law’s dictates.”

Prosecutors, however, said in court earlier this week that agents recovered as many as thousands of images of what appeared to be nude underage girls during a search of his Manhattan home in the hours after his arrest on July 6, and the possession of those images could violate the terms of his sex offender conditions.