Defense lawyers seek detention at home for Jeffrey Epstein

NEW YORK — Financier Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers, seeking bail for their client, said Thursday that he had long lived with the fear that federal prosecutors might pursue sexual abuse charges against him again — and yet had never sought to flee the country.

Epstein , 66, was arrested Saturday night in New Jersey as he arrived from Paris and now faces sex trafficking charges alleging he abused dozens of underage girls in Florida and New York in the early 2000s. His lawyers have argued that a nonprosecution agreement made more than a decade ago with federal prosecutors covers the same ground as the new charges.

He pleaded not guilty Monday, and a judge asked defense lawyers and prosecutors to submit their bail arguments prior to a hearing next week.

His lawyers recommended house arrest in Epstein's $77 million Manhattan mansion and electronic monitoring as they countered what they described as a "drastic demand" by prosecutors that he be detained until trial.

They said their client was willing to offer the Manhattan property as collateral while he lives there, along with his private jet, which would be grounded, as he fights the charges.

In seeking detention, prosecutors said a trove of what seemed to be nude pictures of underage girls was found in his mansion after his arrest on charges that he sexually exploited and abused underage girls.

In their submission in Manhattan federal court, lawyers said Epstein always knew federal authorities might renege on a nonprosecution deal signed in 2007, under which Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges in Florida, served a 13-month jail sentence and registered as a sex offender.

Customs and Border Protection clarifies policy on airline ID searches

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection is clarifying that airline passengers aren’t required to submit to identification checks when getting off planes if there’s no law enforcement-related reason.

The new policy directive comes as a result of a settlement in a lawsuit; the documents were obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed by passengers who had been on Delta Air Lines Flight 1583 from San Francisco to New York’s Kennedy Airport in February 2017, soon after President Donald Trump’s initial travel ban. They were told by the flight crew that all the passengers would have to show identification to get off the airplane. They were greeted by two Customs officers when they landed and were forced to wait aboard the plane as each passenger was checked.

The officers were searching, at the request of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, for an immigrant with a deportation order after criminal convictions for domestic assault and other crimes. The person was not identified and was not aboard. The officers didn’t tell passengers the search was voluntary, said the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the passengers in the lawsuit.

General fears early Afghanistan troop pullout

WASHINGTON — Pulling American troops prematurely from Afghanistan would be a “strategic mistake,” the Army general nominated to be Joint Chiefs chairman told senators Thursday. Mark Milley also said the United States should keep a “modest number” of forces in Iraq and Syria for now to maintain stability.

Milley assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that he will give his candid advice to President Donald Trump regardless of any potential consequences to himself.

“We’ve buried soldiers. Arlington is full of our comrades. We understand absolutely full well the hazards of our chosen profession,” Milley said, in response to questions from Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, about whether he would be willing to tell Trump that he thought the president was wrong on any issue. “We know what this is about and we are not going to be intimidated into making stupid decisions.”

The 61-year-old Milley, who is Trump’s pick to replace Gen. Joseph Dunford, said “no one, ever” would intimidate him.

He received a friendly reception from the committee and appears headed for an easy confirmation. Milley is combat-hardened veteran of multiple tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, including as a senior commander.

If confirmed, Milley, who has been serving as the chief of staff of the Army since August 2015, would take over as Joint Chiefs chairman by the end of September.

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