Jeffrey Epstein offered his $77m Manhattan mansion as part of a bond to secure bail in a court motion on Thursday that previewed how his attorneys will fight federal sex trafficking charges against the money manager.
Mr Epstein is currently in jail after his arrest last weekend on charges that he allegedly trafficked underage women for sex between 2002 and 2005. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in an initial hearing on Monday.
The case brought by the Manhattan US attorney’s office came more than a decade after a controversial plea deal in Miami that prevented a federal indictment at the time. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to state prostitution offences.
In the filing on Thursday, Mr Epstein’s attorneys argued that he posed no danger to the community and said prosecutors had alleged no misconduct since 2005.
“Any danger that Mr. Epstein may have once posed to the community has long since abated,” said the attorneys, Reid Weingarten, Martin Weinberg and Marc Allan Fernich.
Mr Epstein offered a “substantial” bond secured by a $77m mortgage on his Manhattan mansion, as well as home detention in the residence. He asked to file information about his finances under seal to allow the court to decide the bond amount.
Prosecutors earlier this week urged the judge overseeing the case, Richard Berman, to keep the 66-year-old financier in jail pending his trial, pointing to his wealth and access to two private jets as evidence that he could flee the country.
Mr Epstein’s lawyers previewed two key elements of their defence in the filing. They argued that the non-prosecution agreement struck in 2007 by Alexander Acosta, the US labour secretary who was then the US attorney in Miami, barred the new indictment.
They also said the alleged conduct did not amount to trafficking, arguing that there were no claims he “trafficked anybody for commercial profit; that he forced, coerced, defrauded, or enslaved anybody”.
“The principal conduct underlying the indictment is Mr. Epstein’s payment of money for massages that purportedly escalated to alleged sex acts,” they wrote, likening it to “consumer or purchaser behaviour”.