Lawyers for 66-year-old wealthy sex offender and accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein came up with nine reasons on Tuesday that a federal judge should grant their client bail, despite the arguments of federal prosecutors to the contrary.
1. Epstein’s wealth doesn’t mean the public safety will be jeopardized by his release.
Stripped to its core, the government’s position – as urged in its letters and echoed again yesterday – distills to this: the nominally rebuttable remand presumption (connected with 18 USC § 1591 charges) plus Mr. Epstein’s wealth creates an irrebuttable presumption whereby no condition(s) can reasonably assure personal appearance or protect the public. The Court should reject the government’s misguided effort to effectively create a per se rule. Indeed, for the government, there’s literally nothing a person of Epstein’s means could say, do or pledge to rebut the operative presumption and make himself eligible for release.
2. Courts have bailed out accused child sex-traffickers before.
It bears emphasis that the presumption is hardly an insurmountable bar to release in a § 1591 prosecution. To the contrary, courts have determined that there are suitable conditions under which defendants accused of trafficking minors are bailed – notwithstanding the remand presumption.
3. If the government really wants an accurate disclosure regarding Epstein’s finances, he needs to be out of jail.
[A]s apparent from Mr. Epstein’s initial financial disclosure, Mr. Epstein’s finances are fairly complex. It would be impossible for Mr. Epstein – given, among other impediments, his detention, inability to quickly access pertinent records, and inability to quickly make a precise valuation of particular assets – to provide a sufficient financial statement by the Court’s 5pm deadline. Mr. Epstein certainly recognizes the Court’s request for further transparency and is committed to providing a complete and accurate disclosure.
4. Epstein has a brother.
[T]o the extent the government complains Epstein lacks meaningful domestic ties, we clarify and emphasize that his brother Mark, a U.S. resident, stands prepared to co-sign and secure a release bond in the full amount of his “own net worth,”4 which exceeds $100 million – tangible proof of his certainty that Epstein will appear as necessary.
5. Epstein was really great about reminding a New Mexico detective when he was at his ranch, despite not having to register as a sex offender in the state.
[I]n response to the Court’s inquiry about Epstein’s New Mexico registration status, the state’s Public Safety Department formally advised in August 2010 that “you are not required to register with the State of New Mexico … for your 2008 Florida conviction of Procuring Person Under 18 for Prostitution.” Nonetheless, in an abundance of caution and as an extra precaution, Epstein consistently notified the appropriate New Mexico official, Detective Deborah Anaya, when he spent any time at his ranch there. (The underlying documents are available upon request.)
6. There are studies in existence that say the opposite of what the judge said about sex offender recidivism rates.
[T]hough some studies may well indicate that sex offender recidivism rates “actually go up at 15 years,” as Your Honor suggested from the bench, others reach the opposite conclusion. For example, a respected study found that the relapse risk drops substantially the longer a person remains sex-offense free in the community. Another determined that it’s mistaken to think of anyone who’s been offense-free for 15 years as high-risk.
7. Speculation that cooperating witnesses were paid off is wrong.
[T]o the extent third-party counsel (Mr. Boies) speculated that the alleged November 28 and December 3, 2018 payments were made to “witnesses who were cooperating with us” in civil litigation, he is wrong. As explained in Court, the recipients were “long-time [Epstein] friends and employees” – not putative victims – and they never cooperated with Mr. Boies. To the contrary, each invoked the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify when civilly deposed, respectively, in prior New York federal and Florida state civil proceedings. Subject to the protective orders in these proceedings, we would be pleased to provide relevant deposition transcripts.
8. The expired Austrian passport that has Epstein’s picture on it, a different name and listed his residence as Saudi Arabia only existed to protect Epstein from anti-Semitic violence.
[A]s for the Austrian passport the government trumpets, it expired 32 years ago. And the government offers nothing to suggest – and certainly no evidence – that Epstein ever used it. In any case, Epstein – an affluent member of the Jewish faith – acquired the passport in the 1980s, when hijackings were prevalent, in connection to Middle East travel. The passport was for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnapers, hijackers or terrorists should violent episodes occur.
9. Forget about that sweetheart deal; Epstein isn’t a flight risk because he wasn’t a flight risk.
[T]he Court is undoubtedly aware of the highly charged context surrounding this prosecution. In November 2018, media reports suggested that Epstein received a plea deal that amounted to a “slap on the wrist.” Putting aside the robust negotiations leading to the non- prosecution agreement (NPA) and the prison sentence that Epstein completed, there can be no dispute that certain witnesses through their attorney representatives, the media – e.g., The Miami Herald – and the public were all clamoring for his re-prosecution, Epstein traveled extensively over these eight months and invariably returned to the United States. That inescapable reality emphatically proves he won’t flee and entitles him to release – on any and all conditions the Court deems appropriate.
Judge Richard Berman will announce his bail decision at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday.
Bonus: The filing erroneously identified one of Epstein’s lawyers as “Martin Weintraub.” Martin Weinberg is representing Epstein.
Also, unless I’m missing something, the attorney who signed Epstein’s brief appears to have misspelled the name of his prominent co-counsel, Martin Weinberg. pic.twitter.com/NK8irpVLQg
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) July 16, 2019
[Image via Stephanie Keith/Getty Images]