Jeffrey Epstein seeks $77 million bail package in New York sex trafficking case

Federal prosecutors in New York proposed that Epstein remain behind bars without bond for allegedly preying on dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.
Image: Jeffrey Epstein
Jeffrey Epstein at the launch of RADAR Magazine in May 18, 2005, at Hotel QT in New York.Sipa via AP Images

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By Tom Winter and Rich Schapiro

Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers Thursday asked a federal judge to release the accused sex predator on a bail package worth up to $77 million.

The request was made in court papers filed three days after federal prosecutors in New York proposed that Epstein remain behind bars without bond for allegedly preying on dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.

"The government seeks to remand a self-made New York native and lifelong American resident based on dated allegations for which he was already convicted and punished," Epstein's lawyers wrote.

New York prosecutors charged Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking and conspiracy more than a decade after he signed a controversial non-prosecution deal in 2007 that allowed him to dodge a federal indictment alleging he abused several underage girls.

Epstein, 66, ultimately pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting minors for prostitution, and served a 13-month sentence in a Florida county jail.

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The wealthy financier was arrested Saturday after his private plane landed at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey. 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.

Epstein, who is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, pleaded not guilty to the two-count indictment.

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

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.

"Any perception that Mr. Epstein poses any conceivable danger or flight risk may be readily dispelled by a slate of highly restrictive conditions," his lawyers wrote.

They proposed that he be allowed to remain under house arrest, with permission to leave only for medical appointments. Epstein would agree to wear an electronic GPS monitoring device, his lawyers added.

Epstein's attorneys also emphasized that the new charges relate to past behavior and said he's had a "spotless 14-year record of walking the straight and narrow."

"Any danger that Mr. Epstein may have once posed to the community has long since abated," the lawyers wrote. "At the very least, this enormous gap in time precludes a finding by clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release can reasonably assure the community's safety."

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman is slated to hold a hearing Monday to determine Epstein's bail status.

Earlier this week, a new Epstein accuser came forward for the first time, telling NBC News that he raped her when she was 15.

Jennifer Araoz, 32, said she was 14 years old when she was recruited outside her New York City high school to provide sexual massages for Epstein. A year later, she said, he turned violent.