This wasn’t the safe on Pedophile Island stashed in a room that no one’s allowed to enter. This was a safe in his ultra-ultra-ultra-luxe Manhattan townhouse.

The guy’s so shady that something as cartoonishly shady as a fake passport doesn’t make the cut for his most secure hiding place. What the hell’s in the safe on the island? The Necronomicon?

Add to this to the list of mysteries, then. How’d Epstein make his money? Who are his “clients,” and what service is he providing to them? Why was Alex Acosta allegedly told that he “belonged to intelligence”? And, um, “Jeffrey Epstein” is his real name, isn’t it?

“Just this morning the government became aware of a safe that contained a pile of cash, diamonds, a passport from a foreign country with a picture of the defendant under another name,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman.

“The passport was issued in the name of a foreign country, it was issued in the 1980s, it is expired, it shows a picture of Jeffrey Epstein, and another name,” Rossmiller said, adding the passport showed Epstein’s residence as Saudi Arabia.

We can only guess what sort of illegal activity precipitated his decision to get a false passport 30+ years ago, just in case he had to flee the country when the feds were looking for him. Financial fraud? Sex trafficking? And why Saudi Arabia? That seems random since Epstein doesn’t look Arabic. If he was going to choose a country at random in obtaining a forged passport, you would think he’d choose one where he might more plausibly reside. But maybe it isn’t random. Vicky Ward, who’s been following the Epstein story for years, claimed a few days ago that a former senior White House official(!) told her of Epstein, “He knew a lot of rich Arabs, including the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.” There’s a photo of Mohammed bin Salman, the Kingdom’s crown prince, in his New York home, in fact.

How’d he get that fake Saudi passport? I’m curious to know if it’s a mediocre fake or good enough to fool an expert. That rumor about him “belonging to intelligence” seems a shade more plausible every day.

The Manhattan townhouse is the same place where federal agents claim they found “an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially-nude young women or girls,” by the way. The NYT had a charming anecdote about that tucked away at the end of a story this weekend about all of the rich scumbags who happily welcomed him back into elite society after he served time for sex offenses.

Just three months ago, as federal prosecutors were closing in with new charges, Mr. Epstein had a conversation with R. Couri Hay, a publicist, about continuing to improve his reputation. Mr. Epstein asserted that what he was convicted of did not constitute pedophilia, said Mr. Hay, who declined to represent him.

The girls he had sex with were “tweens and teens,” Mr. Epstein told him.

Epstein knew exactly how to reassure members of his class that he was still a “respectable” member of the upper crust after leaving prison, ingratiating himself to faculty and administrators at Harvard (he didn’t go there) and otherwise “surround[ing] himself with prestige” by showing off his wealth and connections. It gave him an air of impunity, which was seductive to friends and intimidating to victims. And I’m sure it also created a sense in people that his crimes simply couldn’t have been *that* bad. If they were, he would have paid more of a price for having committed them, wouldn’t he? That’s what Acosta’s sweetheart deal did for him.

I have to say, as comprehensively loathsome as Epstein is, there does seem to be a touch of genius to him in knowing how to manipulate people. Increasingly this feels like “Catch Me If You Can” except 8,000 times darker.

In order to better see just how dark he was, read the Smoking Gun’s account of how Epstein allegedly lured his “number one girl” into his web. It started with money for “massages,” proceeded to repeated acts of statutory rape, involved at least one act of forcible rape, and of course included cash bonuses for recruiting other girls. He was supposedly well aware of the girl’s age too, urging her not to tell anyone her real age. Exit quotation from yet another alleged victim, this one 14 years old at the time: “[S]he thought he was on steroids because he was a ‘really built guy and his wee wee was very tiny.'”