Financier Jeffrey Epstein will remain behind bars for now as a federal judge considers whether to grant bail on charges he sexually abused underage girls. The judge said Monday he needed more time to make a decision. Prosecutors said evidence against Epstein is growing “stronger by the day” after several more women contacted them in recent days to say he abused them when they were underage, the Associated Press reports. Prosecutors say Epstein, 66, is a flight risk and danger to the community and should remain incarcerated on charges that he recruited and abused dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. His lawyers counter that their client has not committed crimes since admitting to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida in 2008 and that the federal government is reneging on a 12-year-old deal not to prosecute him. They say he should await trial under house arrest in his $77 million Manhattan mansion.
In a submission Friday to U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, prosecutors said dozens of individuals have called the government to report information about Epstein. They believe Epstein might have tried to influence witnesses, noting that he paid a total of $350,000 to two individuals in the last year. That occurred after the Miami Herald reported the circumstances of his state conviction in 2008, which led to a 13-month jail term and his deal to avoid federal prosecution. Prosecutors are reviewing electronic files seized during a raid on Epstein’s residence after his July 6 arrest, finding more photos than the thousands of pictures of nude and seminude young women and girls they had reported. Defense lawyers said accusations against Epstein are “outside the margins of federal criminal law” and there were no allegations he “trafficked anybody for commercial profit; that he forced, coerced, defrauded, or enslaved anybody.”