The 14 specific terms under which Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers say he should be released before trial include being detained at his luxe home, posting bond secured by Epstein’s $77 million Upper East Side mansion, and deregistering or grounding Epstein’s private jet — one of the planes famously nicknamed “The Lolita Express.”
In the document, Epstein’s attorney argues to Judge Richard M. Berman that Criminal No. 19-490 should be released from federal detention before his trial, and wants to “abate any conceivable danger he’s claimed to present.”
Epstein’s attorneys again reiterate in their letter that the non-prosecution agreement orchestrated by Alex Acosta was a “global” agreement that makes it impossible for federal prosecutors in New York to place Epstein on trial.
July 11, 2019
The Honorable Richard M. Berman
United States District Court
Southern District of New York
United States Courthouse
500 Pearl Street
New York, NY 10007
United States v. Jeffrey Epstein, Criminal No. 19-490
Dear Judge Berman:
We write to outline the grounds entitling Jeffrey Epstein to pretrial release, proposing a stringent set of conditions that will effectively guarantee his appearance and abate any conceivable danger he’s claimed to present.
In essence, the government seeks to remand a self-made New York native and lifelong American resident based on dated allegations for which he was already convicted and punished – conduct the relitigation of which is barred by a prior federal nonprosecution agreement (the “NPA”). The government makes this drastic demand even though Mr. Epstein has never once attempted to flee the United States – despite a Florida federal judge’s stated belief that he could void the NPA in appropriate circumstances, possibly threatening new charges there, and notwithstanding legally erroneous government assertions in ancillary litigation that Mr. Epstein was subject to potential prosecution in other federal judicial districts, including this one specifically. 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. 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.
Nonetheless, it is fundamental that pretrial detention is reserved for “a small but identifiable group of particularly dangerous defendants as to whom neither the imposition of stri[ct] release conditions nor the prospect of revocation of release can reasonably assure the safety of the community or other persons.” S. Rep. No. 98-225, at 6-7 (1984), reprinted in 1984 U.S.C.C.A.N. 3182, 3189. And that’s true no matter how much rhetoric and hyperbole the government and media pile on a presumptively innocent citizen. Popular condemnation aside, compelling legal issues stand between Mr. Epstein and any possible conviction on the allegations of conduct from 14 to 17 years ago pressed in the indictment. Importantly, the Bail Reform Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3141 et seq., authorizes release for even wealthy defendants facing serious charges who travel and own property abroad.
The government’s indictment labels this a “Sex Trafficking” case. Yes, the government may have witnesses who will testify to participating in sexual massages – most over 18; some under; some who told the police they lied about their age to gain admission to Mr. Epstein’s residence; some who will testify that Mr. Epstein knew they were not yet 18.1 But their anticipated testimony only punctuates the alleged offenses’ purely local nature. (All occurred within a single New York residence or, if the Florida conduct is ultimately ruled admissible despite the NPA, then within two residences.) There are no allegations in the indictment that Mr. Epstein trafficked anybody for commercial profit; that he forced, coerced, defrauded, or enslaved anybody; or that he engaged in any of the other paradigmatic sex trafficking activity that 18 U.S.C. § 1591 aims to eradicate. No one seeks to minimize the gravity of the alleged conduct, but it is clear that the conduct falls within the heartland of classic state or local sex offenses – and at or outside the margins of federal criminal law.
Mr. Epstein, 66, is a U.S. citizen who’s lived his entire life in this country. Born and bred in Coney Island, he worked his way up from humble origins – his father was a New York City municipal employee in the Parks Department – and earned every penny he’s made with nothing more than a high school diploma. He speaks only English and knows no other languages. He owns no foreign businesses and holds no foreign bank accounts. Five of the six residences he maintains are located here in America. His brother, niece, and nephew all live here too.
Until his arrest in this case, Mr. Epstein’s only notable brush with the law resulted in the 2007 NPA (Exhibit 1) and a 2008 state-court guilty plea required by the NPA for conduct substantially overlapping the conduct charged in the pending indictment. As a result of the state guilty plea, Mr. Epstein received a 30-month sentence, 18 months of incarceration, and 12 months’ probation under conditions including home confinement. Mr. Epstein served 13 months in custody, 12 months on probation and, as a condition of the NPA and his state sentence, was required to register as a sex offender in the locations of his residences. He is currently registered in the U.S. Virgin Islands, his principal residence, Florida, and New York. Mr. Epstein has scrupulously fulfilled his obligations in every jurisdiction in which he was required to register throughout the 10-year hiatus between his release and present arrest. All of his travel has been meticulously reported to the registration authorities so that they have been aware of his precise location every single day for the past 10 years. Better still, the pending charges date back 14-17 years, from 2002 to 2005. Yet, tellingly, they allege no recurrence of the conduct underlying the NPA and Florida state conviction at any time in the ensuing decade and a half (2005-2019).
Together, these unique factors are powerful indicia that Mr. Epstein is no longer a danger to anyone and will faithfully obey all conditions of release if ordered.
In sum, Mr. Epstein has substantial grounds to challenge the allegations charged by the government in its indictment, and he has every intention of doing so in a lawful, professional, and principled manner. He intends to fight the current charges on their merits and, more, to contest their legality given the inextricable intertwining of the current investigation and his NPA which promised him immunity and a global settlement for offenses including those brought under 18 U.S.C. § 1591. Any perception that Mr. Epstein poses any conceivable danger or flight risk may be readily dispelled by a slate of highly restrictive conditions, which amply suffice to secure his release:
1. Home detention in Mr. Epstein’s Manhattan residence, with permission to leave only for medical appointments as approved by Pretrial Services, including (at the Court’s discretion) the installation of surveillance cameras at the front and rear entrances to ensure compliance.
2. Electronic monitoring with a Global Positioning System.
3. An agreement not to seek or obtain any new passport during the pendency of this matter.
4. Consent to U.S. extradition from any country and waiver of all rights against such extradition.
5. A substantial personal recognizance bond in an amount set by the Court after reviewing additional information regarding Mr. Epstein’s finances, which Mr. Epstein will seek the Court’s permission to provide via sealed supplemental disclosure.
6. The bond shall be secured by a mortgage on the Manhattan residence, valued at roughly $77 million. Mr. Epstein’s private jet can be pledged as further collateral.
7. Mr. Epstein’s brother Mark will serve as a co-surety of the bond, which shall be further secured by a mortgage on Mark’s home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Epstein’s friend David Mitchell will also serve as a co-surety and pledge his investment interests in two properties to secure the bond.
8. Mr. Epstein shall deregister or otherwise ground his private jet.
9. He shall demobilize, ground, and/or deregister all vehicles or any other means of transportation in the New York area, providing particularized information as to each vehicle’s location.
10. Mr. Epstein will provide Pretrial Services and/or the government random access to his residence.
11. No person shall enter the residence, other than Mr. Epstein and his attorneys, without prior approval from Pretrial Services and/or the Court.
12. Mr. Epstein will report daily by telephone to Pretrial Services (or on any other schedule the Court deems appropriate).
13. A Trustee or Trustees will be appointed to live in Mr. Epstein’s residence and report any violation to Pretrial Services and/or the Court.
14. Any other condition the Court deems necessary to reasonably assure Mr. Epstein’s appearance.