Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photo taken for the NY Division of Criminal Justice Services' sex offender registry. Picture: New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services/Handout via Reuters

New York - American financier Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday asked a federal judge to let him out of jail and allow him to remain under house arrest as he awaits trial on charges of sex trafficking underage girls.

In a filing in federal court in Manhattan, Epstein's lawyers argued that home confinement, along with electronic monitoring, surveillance and a bond secured by a mortgage on his $77 million Manhattan mansion would be enough to ensure that he does not flee the country.

Prosecutors said at a court hearing on Monday that they will oppose Epstein's release on bail, saying he poses "extraordinary risk of flight" because of his wealth, private planes and significant international ties. They are due to respond to Epstein's motion by Friday evening.

Epstein, 66, was arrested on Saturday evening at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, where he had returned on his private plane from Paris. He pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy.

The well-connected money manager was known for socializing with politicians and royalty, with friends who have included Republican U.S. President Donald Trump, former Democratic President Bill Clinton and, according to court papers, Britain's Prince Andrew. None of those people was mentioned in the indictment.

According to an indictment, Epstein arranged for girls to perform nude "massages" and other sex acts, and paid some girls to recruit others, from at least 2002 to 2005. Prosecutors said he intentionally sought out girls under the age of 18. 

Reuters