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Prosecutors Say Epstein Paid Off Potential Witnesses

Financier reportedly sent $350K to two people
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2019 11:30 AM CDT
US Attorney Geoffrey Berman speaks during a news conference in New York on Monday, announcing the charges against Jeffrey Epstein.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Jeffrey Epstein wired $350,000 to two people in November and December—an attempt to sway possible witnesses in the sex-trafficking case against him, prosecutors say. The payments were made soon after publication of the Miami Herald investigation into the behind-the-scenes plea deal between Epstein and prosecutors in Florida in 2008, the New York Times reports. Saying the payments were evidence Epstein might try to influence witnesses if he were free, the US attorney's office in Manhattan said Friday that Epstein should be denied bail. He has not been charged because of the payments. His lawyers want him to be allowed to remain in his Upper East Side mansion under house arrest before his trial on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges.

They said Epstein would submit to wearing an ankle bracelet and pay for 24-hour security guards to make sure he stays put. Prosecutors countered by saying that there had been "extensive allegations of obstruction and tampering" over lawsuits against Epstein in the past. "Epstein's efforts to influence witnesses continue to this day,” the prosecutors said. They also argued against releasing someone into the community who has a history of sexual abuse against minors. The financier, who was arrested last weekend, is due in court Monday for a bail hearing, per NPR. If convicted, Epstein could be sentenced to as many as 45 years in prison. (That 2008 plea deal resulted in a Cabinet resignation Friday.)

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