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Prosecutors accuse Jeffrey Epstein of tampering with witnesses

Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigns

Prosecutors argued Friday that financier Jeffrey Epstein should be denied bail while he awaits trial on sex trafficking charges involving underage girls, fearing that he will tamper with witnesses. The prosecutors submitted written arguments in advance of a bail hearing Monday, saying he faces "the very real possibility" of spending the rest of his life in prison and seems not to understand the gravity of his crimes.

"And any doubt that the defendant is unrepentant and unreformed was eliminated when law enforcement agents discovered hundreds or thousands of nude and seminude photographs of young females in his Manhattan mansion on the night of his arrest, more than a decade after he was first convicted of a sex crime involving a juvenile," prosecutors wrote in their submission.

The filing came a day after defense lawyers told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman that Epstein should be given bail and confined to his $77 million Manhattan mansion with electronic monitoring. Epstein was arrested Saturday after arriving at a New Jersey airport from Paris. Epstein pleaded not guilty Monday to charges alleging he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls at his mansions in New York and Palm Beach, Florida, in the early 2000s.

"Against this backdrop of significant-and rapidly-expanding-evidence, serious charges, and the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence, the defendant proposes to be released on conditions that are woefully inadequate.. the defendant should be housed where he can be secured at all times: a federal correctional center," prosecutors wrote.

Lawyer for Epstein's alleged victims: There are "well in excess of 50"

They also said they were worried Epstein, 66, might try to derail his trial. They said Epstein recently paid $100,000 to one individual "named as a possible co-conspirator" in a non-prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors in Florida 12 years ago.

They said the payment, along with $250,000 sent to another person who was a former employee and was named as a possible co-conspirator in the non-prosecution agreement, came after the Miami Herald last November began publishing a series of article describing the circumstances of his state court conviction in Florida in 2008 and the deal to avoid federal prosecution.

"This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations," prosecutor said.

Epstein was arrested July 6 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and charged with child sex trafficking. According to an indictment, Epstein allegedly abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14 from at least 2002 to 2005. He faced similar charges in 2007 but took a plea deal in 2008 to avoid federal prosecution.

The deal was overseen by Alex Acosta, who at the time was the U.S. attorney in Florida's Southern District. Earlier on Friday, Acosta stepped down from his post as Labor Secretary amid increasing scrutiny over how he handled the case. Acosta will leave the administration in seven days. 

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