Sex trafficker used passport with fake name to travel to several countries
Prosecutors in the child trafficking case against billionaire Jeffrey Epstein have revealed further details about the convicted sex offender’s use of a fake identity.
On Wednesday, four lawyers from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York filed a legal equivalent of a clap-back in court.
In a letter to presiding Judge Richard Berman, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman sent a two-paragraph response to a Tuesday claim by Epstein and his defense team regarding the falsified passport found by federal investigators in his New York home.
The defense team stated in its filing after a bail hearing in the case:
“[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.”
Prosecutors swiftly shot down that very strong comment on Wednesday, when firing off a letter to the judge stating:
“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.”
According to the Daily Mail, the letter then points out that Epstein has once again not complied with the court’s request.
“The Government further notes that the defendant’s submission does not address how the defendant obtained the foreign passport and, more concerning, the defendant has still not disclosed to the Court whether he is a citizen or legal permanent resident of a country other than the United States,” states the letter.
Epstein obtained a passport from Austria in the 1980s “for personal protection in the event of travel to dangerous areas, only to be presented to potential kidnappers, hijackers and terrorists” said his defense team on Tuesday.
That was stated in response to the revelation just one day prior that the passport had been found in a safe at Epstein’s home by agents on the same night he was arrested at Teterboro Airport.
Epstein’s attorney states that his client is an “affluent member of the Jewish faith” and for that reason acquired the falsified document at a time “when hijackings were prevalent, in connection to Middle East travel.”
A filing by prosecutors meanwhile detailed just what was found in Epstein’s safe, revealing he held a pile of gems and cash.
“After conferring with law enforcement agents who have reviewed the materials from the safe, the Government has learned that the safe contained more than $70,000 in cash,” reads the filing by prosecutors.
“In addition, the safe contained 48 loose diamond stones, ranging in size from approximately 1 carat to 2.38 carats, as well as a large diamond ring.”
It then notes: “The Government is currently unaware of whether the defendant maintains similar stashes of cash and/or jewels at his multiple properties, or in other locations.
“Such ready cash and loose diamonds are consistent with the capability to leave the jurisdiction at a moment’s notice.”
Judge Richard Berman ordered Epstein to remain behind bars on sex trafficking charges at the Manhattan Correctional Center until his bail hearing Thursday.
Epstein’s legal team pleaded with the judge to let the disgraced businessman out of jail and said he is in solitary confinement.
“We need him released, judge. This is an enormously challenging case for defense counsel,” argued Epstein’s lawyer.
In their rebuttal, prosecutors said: “Your honor, it’s underage girls that are involved in this case, and it’s underage girls that are the victims.”
Rossmiller also noted that Epstein’s finances remain a mystery, something Judge Berman pointed out at the start of the proceedings as well while demanding a more complete accounting of the pedophile’s assets.
Federal prosecutors said on Monday that they just recently learned about more hidden assets following the search of Epstein’s home.
Those assets were in diamonds and art, which were discovered throughout his residence according to Rossmiller.
There were also “piles of cash” found tucked away in Epstein’s safe.
“How much money does he have? Where is it?’ asked Rossmiller in court.
“How much of it is in diamonds or art?”
The financial records that have been handed over by Epstein already list his wealth at over $500 million according to prosecutors, with one account containing $110 million.
He also has another $400 million in various holdings according to his incomplete filing.
Epstein, who was asked a week ago to get his finances in order to present to the judge in the case, submitted just a single page of information to the court.
His lawyers defended this by noting the “series of articles” in the media that emerge after every new development in the case.
Prior to that, the defense tried to mitigate Epstein’s payment of $350,000 to two individuals after the Miami Herald exposé was first published last November.
His lawyers stated: “The payment of an employee and the payment of a friend is not ‘witness tampering’ because the Miami Herald wrote an article.”
Defense attorney Martin Weinberg also told Judge Berman that his client “would sign any bond” or hand over “any collateral” in order to “virtually guarantee” all future appearances in court.
“[Bernie] Madoff was released on bail. He surrendered,” pointed out Weinberg.
Epstein, unlike Madoff, has a home in a foreign country and is not facing financial ruin. He has also been accused of sex crimes, while Madoff was solely convicted of financial crimes.
Epstein has spent every night since his arrest on Saturday, July 6 in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan, where his new roommates include Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman.
Federal prosecutors are hoping to keep him locked up at the facility ahead of his trial after charging the previously convicted pedophile with two counts of sex trafficking minors.
His defense team will keep trying to get him released, citing the previous non-prosecution agreement he signed as part of a 2008 plea deal in Palm Beach.
Lawyers for Epstein also claim that his previous accusers and the alleged underage victims he is charged with trafficking were prostitutes.
There were reportedly 49 accusers in that previous Palm Beach case according to a deposition of Epstein that was taken by one of the victim’s lawyers.