NEW YORK (Reuters) – Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was discovered useless on Saturday after an obvious suicide within the New York jail cell the place he was being held with out bail on sex-trafficking expenses, and a supply stated he was not on suicide watch on the time of his loss of life.
Epstein, 66, was discovered unresponsive in his cell within the Particular Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Middle (MCC) and brought to a hospital the place he was pronounced useless, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates the decrease Manhattan jail, stated in a press release. It declined to remark additional.
Epstein, a well-connected cash supervisor dogged for years by allegations that he sexually abused women and younger girls, was discovered hanging by his neck, in accordance with the supply, who was not approved to talk on the document.
The financier, who as soon as counted Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former President Invoice Clinton as buddies, was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not responsible to expenses of intercourse trafficking involving dozens of underage women as younger as 14, from at the very least 2002 to 2005.
The FBI and the Division of Justice’s Inspector Basic had been opening investigations into his loss of life, U.S. Legal professional Basic William Barr stated, including that he was “appalled” to be taught of the obvious suicide in federal custody.
Final month, Epstein was discovered unconscious on the ground of his jail cell with marks on his neck, and officers had been investigating that incident as a attainable suicide or assault.
“Mr. Epstein’s loss of life raises critical questions that should be answered,” Barr stated in a press release.
Regardless that Epstein was discovered unconscious final month, he had not too long ago been taken off suicide watch, a particular set of procedures for inmates at risk of taking their very own life, in accordance with the supply. The financier was in a cell by himself when his physique was discovered.
It was not instantly clear why Epstein was taken off suicide watch.
On the MCC, two jail guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners each 30 minutes, however that process was not adopted in a single day, in accordance with the supply. As well as, each 15 minutes guards are required to make one other examine on prisoners who’re on suicide watch.
Guards typically take away any prisoner positioned on suicide watch from the Particular Housing Unit the place Epstein was housed, in accordance with a Twitter submit by Preet Bharara, a former Manhattan-based U.S. legal professional. The unit separates inmates comparable to accused intercourse offenders from the overall inhabitants for his or her safety.
Aja Davis, a spokeswoman for the New York Metropolis Workplace of the Chief Medical Examiner, stated she couldn’t say how Epstein died earlier than her workplace examined the physique.
INVESTIGATION TO CONTINUE
Epstein was arrested on July 6 at a New Jersey airport after taking a personal aircraft from Paris. Final month, a choose refused Epstein’s request to launch him on bail and permit him to stay beneath 24-hour guard in his opulent townhouse on Manhattan’s Higher East Aspect. The financier was interesting that ruling.
The indictment accused Epstein of knowingly recruiting underage girls to interact in intercourse acts with him, typically over a interval of years whereas paying the ladies for every encounter.
Prosecutors stated a search of his townhouse, performed beneath a warrant, uncovered proof of tons of, and maybe 1000’s, of nude images of “what seemed to be underage women,” together with some images cataloged on compact discs and saved in a locked secure.
In a court docket submitting on July 25, the federal government stated it was pursuing an “ongoing investigation of uncharged people” in reference to the case.
That investigation, by the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace in Manhattan, will proceed regardless of Epstein’s loss of life, a special supply acquainted with the matter stated.
“As we speak’s occasions are disturbing, and we’re deeply conscious of their potential to current yet one more hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in court docket,” Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Legal professional in Manhattan, stated in a press release. “Our investigation of the conduct charged within the indictment – which included a conspiracy rely – stays ongoing.”
Along with Trump and Clinton, Epstein has socialized with L Manufacturers founder Les Wexner over time, and in accordance with court docket papers, with Britain’s Prince Andrew. None of them was talked about within the indictment in opposition to Epstein.
The fees had been introduced greater than a decade after he pleaded responsible in Florida to state expenses of solicitation of prostitution from a minor in a cope with prosecutors that has been extensively criticized as too lenient.
One of many Florida prosecutors, Alexander Acosta, resigned as U.S. labor secretary in July because the deal got here beneath contemporary scrutiny after Epstein’s arrest in New York.
His loss of life got here a day after the unsealing of a court docket submitting wherein a girl who accused Epstein of maintaining her as a intercourse slave stated one of many financier’s associates had instructed her to have intercourse with at the very least a half-dozen outstanding males.
The declare by Virginia Giuffre got here in a deposition that was included in about 2,000 pages of paperwork associated to her defamation lawsuit in opposition to Ghislaine Maxwell, the affiliate whom Giuffre stated helped Epstein procure women for intercourse.
Attorneys for Maxwell didn’t reply to a number of cellphone and electronic mail requests for remark.
Further reporting by Jan Wolfe and Lucia Mutikani in Washington and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Writing by Frank McGurty; Enhancing by Sonya Hepinstall and Jonathan Oatis