NEW YORK — Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing sex-trafficking charges in New York, has been described by prosecutors as a man of enormous wealth: He owns a $77 million mansion on New York’s Upper East Side; a $12 million estate in Palm Beach, Florida; a private island in the Caribbean and a private jet, they said.
And Thursday, Epstein, 66, asked a federal judge to allow him to use some of his wealth to stay out of jail while he awaits trial, filing a detailed bail proposal with the court.
Epstein asked the court to release him on substantial bond and pledged to put up his Manhattan town house and his private jet as collateral. He also proposed he be allowed to remain under house arrest in his Upper East Side home and said he would agree to electronic monitoring of his location. He said he would surrender his passport and ground his jet.
In addition, his lawyers proposed Epstein would hire private round-the-clock security guards who would “virtually guarantee” he would not flee his house and would show up for court.
The judge in Epstein’s case, Richard M. Berman, rejected a similar proposal in 2016 from a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader in a money laundering case.
Prosecutors had said Monday after the charges were announced that they would ask to have Epstein held in jail until his trial.
Berman of U.S. District Court in Manhattan is scheduled to take up Epstein’s bail proposal at a hearing Monday.
Epstein was arrested Saturday night aboard a private jet at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after arriving from Paris.
If convicted, Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges. In the indictment unsealed Monday, the office of Geoffrey S. Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said that between 2002 and 2005, Epstein recruited dozens of underage girls to engage in sex acts with him, after which he paid them hundreds of dollars in cash.
In the bail memorandum, Epstein’s lawyers made it clear their client would fight the charges and gave a preview of what his defense might be. They argued that even though the government may have witnesses who said Epstein had paid them for sexual massages, prosecutors could not prove he had committed the federal crime of sex trafficking. They contended Epstein should have been prosecuted in New York state court.