Jeffrey Epstein used a foreign passport with a fake name to enter several countries in the 1980s including the United Kingdom, Spain and Saudi Arabia, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.
The questionable travel document was found inside a safe — along with $70,000 in cash and 48 loose diamonds — in the New York City home of the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker. It contained a photo of Epstein with a different name and listed his place of residence as Saudi Arabia, according to prosecutors.
Epstein's lawyers filed court papers Tuesday claiming he obtained the Austrian passport in 1982 for "personal protection" to be presented to "potential kidnappers, hijackers, or terrorists." The lawyers said Epstein's Jewish faith and substantial wealth made him a target while traveling in the Middle East.
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Epstein's attorneys also said that the government provided no evidence that he ever used the passport.
But Wednesday, prosecutors did just that.
"In fact, the passport contains numerous ingress and egress stamps, including stamps that reflect use of the passport to enter France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia in the 1980s," the court papers say.
Prosecutors added that Epstein's lawyers have yet to explain some of the basic questions concerning the passport, including how he obtained it and whether he's a citizen of another country.
Epstein's lawyers did not immediately return a request for comment.
The travel document has become a key component of the government's argument for keeping Epstein locked up on charges alleging he sexually abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida between 2002 and 2005.
Prosecutors say it demonstrates Epstein's ability to obtain false travel documents and underscores his "serious risk of flight." They also point to his extraordinary wealth, access to private planes and limited family ties.
Defense lawyers have asked the judge to allow Epstein to remain at his $77 million Manhattan mansion with electronic monitoring as the case plays out.
A judge is expected to issue a ruling on the bail request Thursday.
Epstein, who is being held at a federal prison in New York City, faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.
Tom Winter is a New York-based correspondent covering crime, courts, terrorism, and financial fraud on the East Coast for the NBC News Investigative Unit.
Rich Schapiro is a reporter for the NBC News Investigative Unit.