Jeffrey Epstein Suicide: FBI, DOJ Open Investigations After Death
Jeffrey Epstein, the former financier accused of molesting teenage girls and sex trafficking, is dead.
Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his Lower Manhattan jail cell at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday after an apparent suicide attempt and was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. He hanged himself, ABC News and other outlets reported.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement. The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are opening investigations into the circumstances of his death, he said.
Epstein wasn’t on a suicide watch, according to a person familiar with the case. He had been monitored previously after being found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck on July 23, a week after his bail request was rejected.
“The coward and serial predator may have taken his own life but we shall continue to seek justice on behalf of our clients,” Josh Schiller, a lawyer for some of Epstein’s alleged victims, said in a text message.
Epstein’s death came less than a day after a court unsealed documents in a civil suit, which allege he and a friend sent a woman to have sex with a former governor, a former U.S. senator and an asset manager when she was a minor. All of them said the allegations were false.
Epstein’s death ends the criminal case, said Randall Jackson, a litigation attorney with Willkie Farr & Gallagher and former federal prosecutor in New York.
“A criminal prosecution like this focuses on an individual and when that person dies the case can’t go forward,” Jackson said. “Certainly for the Bureau of Prisons, it is not a great reflection on what is usually seen as their goal of keeping all defendants safe even from themselves.”
Read more: Epstein Sent Girl to Governor and Senator for Sex, She Said
A self-described “collector” of rich and powerful people, Epstein had links to a Who’s Who of prominent political and business figures. That circle, including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and billionaire Leslie Wexner, all distanced themselves from the financier after his arrest in July.
Epstein’s network was partly chronicled in his address book, stolen by a staff member around 2005 and published by gossip website Gawker in 2015. The hundreds of names included Clinton and future President Donald Trump, who are among people known to have socialized with him.
U.S. prosecutors said Epstein used his wealth and power to sexually abuse dozens of young girls for years at his homes, paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for each encounter and hundreds more if they brought in more victims.
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