Jeffrey Epstein had cash, diamonds and a foreign passport stashed in safe, prosecutors say

The judge is expected to rule Thursday whether the 66-year-old financier and registered sex offender should get bail.

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By Tom Winter and David K. Li

Agents unearthed a "pile of cash, diamonds" and "a passport from a foreign country" in a safe belonging to Jeffrey Epstein, prosecutors told a judge Monday during a bail hearing for the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker.

Federal authorities are arguing for Epstein to be denied bail and to remain behind bars until he's tried for sex-crime charges in acts allegedly involving underage girls.

"Just this morning, the government became aware of a safe that contained a pile of cash, diamonds, a passport from a foreign country with a picture of the defendant under another name," Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

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The judge seemed surprised by the passport revelation and asked Rossmiller: "Say that again?"

"The passport was issued in the name of a foreign country, it was issued in the 1980s, it is expired, it shows a picture of Jeffrey Epstein, and another name," Rossmiller said, adding the passport showed Epstein's residence as Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the 2-hour-long hearing, Berman said he would not rule on Epstein’s bail request until Thursday.

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry in 2017.New York State Division of Criminal Justice via Reuters

Two women testified they were victims of Epstein and asked that he remain jailed.

"I was 16 years old when I had the misfortune of meeting Mr. Epstein here in New York," said Annie Farmer, adding she was there to voice her support for the prosecution's move to keep Epstein locked up.

When Berman asked if she was sexually abused, the witness responded: "He was inappropriate with me. I would prefer not to get into the details at this time."

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Another woman, Courtney Wild, said she was sexually abused by Epstein.

"Hi, your honor, my name is Courtney Wild and I was sexually assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein at the age of 14," she told the court.

Wild also asked that Epstein not be released before his trial.

"He is a scary person to have walking the street," she said.

Annie Farmer, left, and Courtney Wild, right, look on as their lawyers speak to the press at federal court following a bail hearing for Jeffrey Epstein on July 15, 2019 in New York.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

During the hearing, Epstein wore blue jailhouse scrubs with a purple T-shirt. He wrote and passed notes to his lawyers.

"He's going to defend this case," his lawyer Martin Weinberg said.

Epstein, 66, was arrested July 6 at a New Jersey airport after arriving from Paris and accused of sex trafficking and conspiracy. He faces up to 45 years in prison on allegations that he sexually abused dozens of underage girls at his homes in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein is also accused of paying his victims to recruit others, allowing him to build a vast network of girls to exploit. He has pleaded not guilty.

His arrest came more than a decade after he signed a controversial non-prosecution deal in 2008 that allowed him to dodge a federal indictment alleging he abused several underage girls.

Epstein ultimately pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting minors for prostitution, and served a 13-month sentence in a Florida county jail. He was forced to register as a sex offender under that deal.

Since the wealthy financier was nabbed off his private plane at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, he's been locked up at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City. He's pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment.

Jeffrey Epstein appears at a court hearing on July 15, 2019.Christine Cornell

Federal agents conducting a search of his lavish Upper East Side townhouse found "an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially-nude young women or girls," prosecutors say in court papers.

Federal prosecutors have said Epstein poses an "extraordinary risk of flight" given his exorbitant wealth, private planes and international ties.

On Friday, they said Epstein needs to be kept locked up because he has a history of seeking to "influence" possible co-conspirators.

He wired $350,000 to a pair of possible co-conspirators just days after the publication of a newspaper story alleging he sexually abused dozens of underage girls, according to prosecutors. They said the payments were made last November after the bombshell Miami Herald story came out about his crimes and favorable plea bargain, demonstrating his alleged willingness to tamper with witnesses.

"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," the prosecutors wrote in court papers arguing against Epstein's bail.

In their court papers, Epstein's lawyers proposed that his bond be secured by a mortgage on his Manhattan mansion, valued at $77 million. They say his private jet can be pledged as collateral.

Epstein's arrest shed renewed light on the deal he struck in 2008 with local and federal prosecutors in south Florida. The U.S. attorney in Miami at the time was Alex Acosta, who went on to become labor secretary for President Donald Trump.

During a lengthy press conference last Tuesday, Acosta defended the deal, saying it was the best prosecutors could do at the time. Acosta resigned Friday.

Prosecutors have said Epstein has long made a habit of bringing in teenage girls he paid for "massages" at his West Palm Beach, Florida, estate in the early 2000s.

Adam Reiss contributed.