As Epstein bail fight looms, feds say evidence growing daily

FILE - In this July 30, 2008, file photo, Jeffrey Epstein, center, appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. At the center of Epstein's secluded New Mexico ranch sits a sprawling residence the financier built decades ago, complete with plans for a 4,000-square-foot (372-square-meter) courtyard, a living room roughly the size of the average American home and a nearby private airplane runway. Known as the Zorro Ranch, the high-desert property is now tied to an investigation that the state attorney general's office says it has opened into Epstein with plans to forward findings to federal authorities in New York.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on developments in the sex trafficking case against financier Jeffrey Epstein (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Federal prosecutors seeking to have financier Jeffrey Epstein imprisoned until trial say they're concerned he might try to derail the trial by influencing potential witnesses.

They said in court papers Friday that he paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals, including a former employee, shortly after a published report last year revealed a secret deal that helped him avoid federal prosecution.

Epstein faces a bail hearing Monday in Manhattan federal court. He has pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking charges involving underage girls stemming from the early 2000s.

His lawyers say he should be kept in his $77 million Manhattan mansion with electronic monitoring pending trial. They say he is protected by a 12-year-old non-prosecution deal with federal authorities.


5:35 p.m.

Federal prosecutors are urging a judge in advance of a bail hearing Monday to keep billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein behind bars until trial on sex trafficking charges involving underage girls.

The prosecutors submitted written arguments Friday afternoon, labeling Epstein a "serial sexual predator" who likely faces a lengthy prison term.

The filing came after defense lawyers told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman that Epstein should be given bail and confined to his $77 million Manhattan mansion with electronic monitoring.

The 66-year-old Epstein, once a friend of Donald Trump before he became president and ex-President Bill Clinton, was arrested last Saturday. He pleaded not guilty Monday and his lawyers say the new charges will fail because he's protected by a non-prosecution deal with federal prosecutors over a decade ago.


1:10 p.m.

New Mexico authorities say they are investigating sexual abuse accusations against financier Jeffrey Epstein who is already facing federal sex trafficking charges.

Epstein owns a ranch south of Santa Fe.

State attorney general spokesman Matt Baca said in an emailed statement Friday that the office was interviewing people who say they were victims of Epstein. It plans to forward any evidence to federal authorities.

Baca says his office has been in contact with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. Epstein pleaded not guilty this week to sex trafficking charges brought by that office.

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He is accused of paying underage girls for massages and then molesting them at his homes in Florida and New York in the early 2000s.

An email seeking comment was sent to a lawyer for Epstein.


12:10 p.m.

Information that could shed light on jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein's wealth will be kept secret ahead of a Monday bail hearing in his New York sex trafficking case.

U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said Friday that Epstein's lawyers can file documents related to his finances under seal, keeping them out of the public docket.

Prosecutors complained to Berman in a letter on Thursday that Epstein's lawyers hadn't filed the paperwork, making it impossible to "meaningfully respond" to their argument that he should be held on house arrest pending trial.

Berman rejected prosecutors' request for more time to file their response. It's due by 5 p.m. Friday.

Prosecutors say Epstein is a flight risk and want him held without bail pending trial.

Epstein's lawyers favor house arrest at his Manhattan mansion.

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