NEW YORK — Investigators discovered a safe in Jeffrey Epstein’s Manhattan mansion that held “piles of cash,” diamonds, and an expired passport from a foreign country which had what appeared to be Epstein’s photo, but was registered to a fake name and listed his residence as Saudi Arabia.
Prosecutors revealed the safe’s contents as they argued in US District Court in Manhattan that Epstein should be denied bail before his sex-trafficking and conspiracy trial because he was a flight risk and a danger to the community. He is accused of abusing dozens of girls at his residences in New York City and Palm Beach, Fla.
Two women who said they were sexually abused by Epstein also spoke at the hearing, urging Judge Richard M. Berman to deny him bail.
“He’s a scary person to have walking the streets,” said Courtney Wild, one of Epstein’s accusers, who said she was assaulted at age 14.
Berman said he would not rule until Thursday about whether Epstein should be granted bail while he awaits trial.
Epstein had proposed in court papers that he be allowed to remain under house arrest in his $56 million mansion on the Upper East Side, and pay for 24-hour security guards who would ensure he did not flee.
His attorneys say Epstein has been law-abiding for more than a decade.
“He didn’t reengage in this activity,” one of his lawyers, Martin Weinberg, told the judge on Monday, adding, “It’s not like he’s an out-of-control rapist.”
But prosecutors, citing what they called Epstein’s “yearslong scheme to sexually abuse underage girls” and his fortune of at least $500 million, have argued that Epstein would pose a danger to the community and might flee the country if granted bond.
The government had also said Epstein might try to obstruct justice if he were given bail. Prosecutors said that last year he wired $350,000 to two people who were potential witnesses against him at a trial.
Epstein’s lawyers said Monday that the payment could have been “an act of generosity” to Epstein’s associates and that government lawyers were unable to prove otherwise.
Epstein, 66, who faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted on the charges, has been held since his July 6 arrest in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, a highly secure jail that has housed accused terrorists, mobsters, and, recently, Mexican drug lord El Chapo.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to two state charges in Florida as part of a secret deal with federal prosecutors to satisfy a potential indictment on similar charges. He ended up serving a 13-month sentence in a local jail and avoided federal prosecution.
That deal was brokered by Alexander Acosta, a former US attorney in Miami who resigned last week as President Trump’s labor secretary after public outrage over the Epstein agreement reached a fever pitch.
On Monday, defense lawyers for Epstein listed four additional Justice Department officials — two of whom now hold high-level government positions — who approved Epstein’s deal at the time.
Beyond Acosta, the agreement not to prosecute Epstein was approved by Mark Filip, then the deputy attorney general, and Alice Fisher, who at the time led the Justice Department’s criminal division. Both have since departed the government for private practice.
According to Epstein’s lawyers, the deal was also cleared by Sigal P. Mandelker and John Roth, who were both senior officials in the Justice Department.
Mandelker is currently an undersecretary for the Department of the Treasury, and Roth serves as the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security.
At the time, Epstein’s lawyers said, government officials acknowledged federal interest in the case but upheld Acosta’s authority to negotiate the deal.