Financier Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers, seeking bail for their client, said Thursday that he feared a "toxic political climate" might cause federal prosecutors to scrap a deal he made with them over a decade ago and charge him again with sexual abuse charges involving underage girls.
The lawyers recommended house arrest and electronic monitoring for Epstein as they countered what they described as a "drastic demand" by prosecutors that he be detained until trial on charges that he engaged in sex trafficking with dozens of underage girls in Florida and New York from 2002 to 2005.
Epstein , 66, was arrested Saturday as he arrived at a New Jersey airport on a flight from Paris. He pleaded not guilty Monday and a judge asked defense lawyers and prosecutors to submit their bail arguments prior to a hearing next Monday.
In seeking detention, prosecutors said a trove of what seemed to be nude pictures of underage girls was found in his mansion after his arrest on charges that he sexually exploited and abused underage girls.
In their submission in Manhattan federal court, lawyers said Epstein always knew federal authorities might renege on a non-prosecution deal signed in 2007 months before he pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida, served a 13-month jail sentence and registered as a sex offender.
"Indeed, Mr. Epstein feared the toxic political climate might tempt the government to try and end-run the NPA — yet continually returned home from travel abroad, fully prepared to vindicate his rights under the agreement and otherwise mount a full-throated defense," they wrote.
"Finally, the government takes its extreme position in the teeth of Mr. Epstein's perfect compliance with onerous sex offender registration requirements — pinpointing his exact nightly whereabouts — across multiple jurisdictions over a 10-year period," they said.
The defense lawyers also criticized the prosecution's case, saying his conduct "falls within the heartland of classic state or local sex offenses — and at or outside the margins of federal criminal law."
They said sex trafficking laws aimed to eradicate activity that didn't fit his actions since there were no allegations he "trafficked anybody for commercial profit; that he forced, coerced, defrauded, or enslaved anybody."