Judge told to keep 'scary' Epstein in jail

Jeffrey Epstein's (C) lawyers have asked a judge to give him house arrest in his New York mansion.
Jeffrey Epstein's (C) lawyers have asked a judge to give him house arrest in his New York mansion.

Prosecutors and accusers of Jeffrey Epstein have appealed to keep the US financier behind bars while he awaits trial on charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls.

"He's a scary person to have walking the streets," Courtney Wild, one of two accusers who say Epstein abused them when they were teenagers, told US District Judge Richard Berman in New York.

Wild and Annie Farmer spoke at the end of Monday's hearing in which prosecutors argued that Epstein, 66, posed an "extraordinary risk of flight" and was a danger to the community so must remain in jail.

Epstein, who has pleaded not guilty, has asked to be allowed to live under house arrest with armed guard at his expense in his mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side, which is valued at $US77 million.

The judge said he would decide on Thursday whether to grant bail to Epstein, which means he will stay in a Manhattan prison until then.

The hedge fund manager had a social circle that over the years included Donald Trump before he became US president, former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew.

Lawyers for Epstein said their client had had an unblemished record since he pleaded guilty more than a decade ago to a state prostitution charge in Florida and agreed to register as a sex offender.

Critics have called that plea deal, which let Epstein avoid federal prosecution, too lenient.

He pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges on July 8, two days after his arrest at New Jersey's Teterboro Airport, where he had flown back on his private plane from Paris.

Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

He is accused of arranging for girls under the age of 18 to perform nude "massages" and other sex acts, and of paying some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005.

Prosecutors have said Epstein must remain in jail to prevent him fleeing the country, citing his wealth and connections overseas, as well as allegations he paid two potential witnesses last year in an apparent effort to influence them.

Assistant US Attorney Alex Rossmiller told the court Epstein had "piles of cash", "dozens of diamonds" and a fake foreign passport that listed his residence as Saudi Arabia when US authorities raided his New York home.

Rossmiller said the evidence against Epstein was "getting stronger every single day", with new alleged victims coming forward since the charges against him were made public.

Epstein accuser Farmer disputed comments from Epstein's lawyer that he had "disciplined himself" after finding out he was being investigated in 2005.

Reports that child pornography was found in Epstein's apartment indicated "quite the opposite of disciplining himself", she said.

Farmer said he had flown her to New Mexico, which could add another dimension to the case because it involves allegations in another state apart from Florida and New York.

Australian Associated Press