Feds: Epstein attempted to bribe potential witnesses after Miami Herald exposé

Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys tried showing $77 million in court to get bail. Feds responded by alleging that Epstein had started spreading some money around months ago. In their motion to keep Epstein behind bars, prosecutors claim that Epstein had attempted to bribe potential witnesses after the Miami Herald refocused attention on his sex trafficking of underage girls (via Townhall’s Timothy Meads):

Jeffrey Epstein, the financier facing sex-trafficking charges in New York, tried to influence possible witnesses against him, prosecutors said on Friday, wiring $350,000 to two people who might testify against him at trial.

Mr. Epstein sent the money to the potential witnesses in late November and early December, 2018, shortly after the Miami Herald began publishing an investigative report about a secret deal he had reached with the authorities in Florida to avoid federal prosecution, prosecutors said.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan made the new allegations in a court filing asking that Mr. Epstein be denied bail while he awaits trial, saying the payments were evidence that he might try to influence witnesses if he were not detained.

The New York Times report notes that the indictment does not include charges of witness tampering — yet, anyway. Given the seriousness of the underlying indictment, it probably won’t be necessary to include these charges up front to get a federal judge nervous enough to deny bail. As noted earlier, there’s already enough testimony available that Epstein and his investigators had a habit of intimidating both witnesses and investigators. The judge might require prosecutors to make a good-faith show of their evidence on bribery and/or witness tampering to consider it for bail — but bail was a long shot anyway, under the circumstances. A judge might simply reach the eminently reasonable conclusion that Epstein’s resources and the hopeless nature of the case unfolding against him makes him too big a risk for flight to allow out on bail.

If Epstein did try bribing potential witnesses immediately after the Herald’s exposé, it’s difficult to comprehend why. Epstein certainly had a lot to fear from prosecutors, but he still had the previous plea agreement. Bribing potential witnesses would have been a new crime in and of itself, especially if investigators were working on the case. That alone could have resulted in a significant time behind bars — and it tends to show that Epstein was still worried about prosecution. Do the feds have evidence of more sex trafficking after the plea deal? Or does Epstein think that they can find some through these witnesses?

Now, of course, it’s not going to matter much if prosecutors can get around the 2007 agreement. The pictures seized in the raid last weekend is another set of circumstances that could also put Epstein behind bars for the rest of his life. Witness tampering will be small potatoes in the overall case — but it’s a good indicator of a guilty frame of mind, and perhaps also an indicator that any leverage with the rich and powerful had long ago evaporated.

By the way, we now have a clearer idea of Epstein’s net worth. If prosecutors are correct, Epstein may not be a billionaire, but he’s at least halfway there:

Prosecutors said evidence against Epstein has grown since his arrest Saturday after several additional women identified themselves to the government as victims and dozens of individuals called prosecutors to convey information about Epstein and his crimes.

They said victims support his detention and they know of no victim expressing support for bail.

They said he poses a “tremendous risk of flight and a danger to the community” and could easily continue earning over $10 million annually outside the United States. They said records the government obtained from one financial institution revealed over $500 million[.]

There’s no way a $77 million bail would keep Epstein in the country with those kinds of assets — and those are just the assets the feds have found so far.