Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier criminally charged last month with child sex trafficking, has died by suicide, on Saturday morning.
Epstein, 66, hanged himself in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held without bail, the sources said. He was found at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. He was transported by the FDNY-EMS from the jail to New York Downtown Hospital. When they arrived, Epstein was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter say.
Epstein, a one-time friend of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, was accused of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls, some of whom were as young as 14. The U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein appears in a photograph taken for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services’ sex offender registry March 28, 2017 and obtained by Global News July 10, 2019. From New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service.
CNN Report of Epsteins Death
Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier criminally charged last month with child sex trafficking, has died by suicide, three officials familiar with the matter told Global News on Saturday morning. Epstein, 66, hanged himself in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held without bail, the sources said. He was found at 7:30 a.m. Saturday. He was transported by the FDNY-EMS from the jail to New York Downtown Hospital. When they arrived, Epstein was in cardiac arrest, Epstein was being held without bail in the jail since his arrest in early July at an airport in northern New Jersey after arriving there on his private plane on a flight from Paris. He was previously put on suicide watch after he was found semi-conscious on July 23 with marks on his neck on the floor of his jail cell.
Epstein, a one-time friend of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, was accused of sexually exploiting dozens of underage girls, some of whom were as young as 14. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. He faced a maximum sentence of 45 years in prison if convicted. A federal appeals court on Friday unsealed nearly 2,000 pages of documents, including one that contains records showing that President Donald Trump flew on Epstein’s private plane in 1997. Another document showed that an accuser said Epstein’s alleged procurer of underage girls, Ghislaine Maxwell, directed the accuser to have sex with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, a Maine Democrat, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and other prominent people.
Those files released Friday are part of a defamation lawsuit that Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers, filed against Maxwell several years ago. Both Mitchell and Richardson have denied ever meeting Giuffre. Epstein’s former lawyer Alan Dershowitz also has denied Giuffre’s claims to have had sex with him at Maxwell’s behest when Giuffre was underage. Epstein’s criminal defense lawyer Reid Weingarten did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The US Attorney Office in Manhattan and the FBI NY Office have no comment.
But in a statement to The New York Times, Weingarten and two other Epstein attorneys, Marty Weinberg and Michael Miller said they could not confirm his cause of death and trusted it would be investigated by the United States Attorney’s office and the United States Marshals Service. “We are enormously sorry to learn of today’s news. No one should die in jail,” they said.
The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled is both unfortunate and predictable,” said Edwards in a statement obtained by Global News. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”
Epstein’s bail was denied in mid-July when U.S. District Judge Richard Berman ruled he was a potential danger to “new victims” from his apparently “uncontrollable” sexual fixation on young girls, and the risk that Epstein would flee to avoid prosecution for child sex trafficking charges. “This newly discovered evidence also suggests that Mr. Epstein poses ‘ongoing and forward-looking danger,’” the judge wrote. “Mr. Epstein’s danger is considerable and includes sex crimes with minor girls and tampering with potential witnesses.”
That tampering included payments to potential witnesses and possible co-conspirators on the heels of a series of stories in the Miami Herald about Epstein last winter.
Those articles looked back a the prior Florida state and federal investigations into Epstein in the mid-2000s. Those probes focused on Epstein’s hyper-obsessive fixation on receiving daily massages from underage girls and young-looking women at his Palm Beach, Florida, mansion. Epstein received as many as three “massages” each day his home from the girls and women, who were paid several hundred dollars per session. Multiple women ended up saying that the massages were of a sexual nature. And a number of those women said that Epstein engaged in sexual conduct with them when they were underage.
Epstein hired a group of high-powered lawyers to defend himself during the probes. His legal team grew after local police, frustrated at what they saw as a state prosecutor’s reluctance to bring serious charges in the case, took evidence to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami, the top prosecutor for the area. But in what because a highly controversial decision, Acosta ultimately decided to only sign a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein that let the financier off the hook for serious federal charges.
In exchange, Epstein agreed to plead guilty to minor prostitution-related charges involving an underage girl -- charges that were lodged by state prosecutors. Epstein served just 13 months in jail in that case, but much of that time was spent on work release, and jailers reportedly kept his cell door open at night. As a result of that earlier case, Epstein registered as a sex offender. Acosta’s non-prosecution deal with Epstein generated widespread outrage last month on the heels of Epstein’s arrest for the new federal case in Manhattan.
Critics questioned why Acosta, who by then was Trump’s Labor secretary, had given what was now seen as a sweet-heart deal to Epstein. The deal is under investigation by an internal watchdog at the Justice Department, and has already been blasted by a federal judge because of Acosta’s failure to notify Epstein’s accusers at the time it was being crafted.
This week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis asked his state’s Law Enforcement Department to conduct an investigation into both the original light plea deal Epstein cut with state prosecutors in 2008, and the circumstances of his stay in jail for that case.
Epstein’s suicide came just days after L Brands chairman and founder Les Wexner claimed that Epstein had misappropriated more than $46 million from Wexner and his family more than a decade ago.
Wexner said the money was found to be missing after Epstein was placed under investigation in Florida in the mid-2000s, and as Wexner moved to sever ties with Epstein, who had managed his finances for years. Wexner said some of the money was returned by Epstein in the form of donations to a Wexner-controlled charity.