Federal prosecutors accused alleged child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein of witness tampering in a court filing Friday, contending that the wealthy financier wired $350,000 to two associates who could testify against him.
Epstein, 66, sent a $250,000 payment to a former employee and $100,000 to another associate, according to a filing first reviewed by the New York Times. The exchanges occurred in late 2018, shortly after the Miami Herald published a report on the circumstances behind the 2008 plea deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal sex-trafficking charges.
The filing comes as prosecutors seek to have Epstein held without bail until his trial, arguing that the payments were proof that he would attempt to tamper with witnesses if released. Prosecutors have also said that Epstein posed a flight risk due to his wealth.
Earlier this week, attornies for Epstein proposed that he be released into home detention on a bail package valued at $77 million, secured by the mortgage on his Manhattan mansion. Under the proposal, Epstein would also use a private jet as further collateral, subject to electronic monitoring, surrender his passports and de-register all his forms of transportation.
Epstein plead not guilty in Manhattan federal court to charges of sex-trafficking and conspiracy. He stands accused of sexually assaulting female minors at residences in Florida and New York and faces up to 45 years in prison.
Epstein served 13 months of an 18-month sentence in 2008 under a plea deal that allowed him to plead guilty to lesser state charges. Trump administration official Alex Acosta, who served as a U.S. attorney in Florida during the 2008 case, resigned as Labor Secretary on Friday after facing heavy criticism for his role in negotiating the plea deal.