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. (Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP, File)

Epstein finances to be kept secret ahead of bail hearing

July 12, 2019 - 1:17 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Information that could shed light on jailed financier Jeffrey Epstein's wealth will be kept secret ahead of a Monday bail hearing in his sex trafficking case in New York, a judge has ruled.

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.

The judge hand wrote his denial on a copy of the prosecution letter. "Hard to imagine it would take the Govt extra time to review submission," Berman wrote.

Epstein, 66, pleaded not guilty this week to charges alleging he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls at his mansions in New York and Palm Beach, Florida, in the early 2000s.

The case is being brought more than a decade after Epstein secretly cut a deal with prosecutors to dispose of nearly identical allegations.

The 2008 non-prosecution agreement allowed Epstein to plead guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution instead of facing federal charges. He served 13 months in jail, was required to reach financial settlements with dozens of his alleged victims and register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors in the case in New York argue that Epstein is a significant flight risk and want him held without bail pending trial. They say he has three active U.S. passports and has frequently traveled in and out of the country on his private jet.

Epstein's lawyers favor house arrest with electronic monitoring at his $77 million Manhattan mansion, saying prosecutors were making a "drastic demand" asking that he be jailed until trial.

In a court filing, Epstein's lawyers argued that he had long lived with the fear that federal prosecutors might pursue sexual abuse charges against him again and had never sought to flee the country.

The new charges have brought renewed attention to Epstein. On Friday, the New Mexico attorney general's office said it was investigating charges against the financier, who owns a ranch south of Santa Fe. The office is interviewing people who say they were victims of Epstein and plans to forward any evidence to federal authorities, spokesman Matt Baca said in an emailed statement.

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

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