UPDATED with attorney general statement: Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead of an apparent suicide in his New York jail cell while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, the medical examiner’s office in Manhattan confirmed to Deadline. An FBI investigations of his death is underway.
Attorney General William Barr said he is “appalled” by Epstein death by hanging at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a facility that’s under the jurisdiction of his Justice Department. ““Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said in a statement. “In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
Epstein had pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking of girls as young as 14 and faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted. His death comes just weeks after Epstein was found injured in his jail cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in what was believed to be a possible suicide attempt. He had been son suicide watch since, prison officials said.
An autopsy is being conducted to determine the exact cause of death, according to Aja Davis, media spokesperson for the medical examiners office.
His death also came hours after hundreds of pages of court documents were unsealed Friday in New York federal court alleging new details of sexual abuse claims against Epstein and several associates.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 on sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges. He had been charged with operating a ring for abusing teenage girls in various locations including a Caribbean island, his Manhattan townhouse and an estate in Palm Beach, FL. The charges stem from activities from 2002 to 2005.
He had tried to secure bail following his not guilty plea, reportedly offering $100 million as security. But a judge did not allow him to leave custody.
Epstein had pleaded guilty to two state counts in Florida in 2008 following an investigation into similar allegations of sex abuse against minors. His July arrest launched separate investigations into how authorities handled that case. U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned last month after coming under fire for overseeing that deal when he was U.S. attorney in Miami.
The Epstein child-trafficking case already was being eyed for television projects. More/Medavoy optioned Conchita Sarnoff’s book TrafficKing, which chronicles the Epstein case, along with Sarnoff’s life rights, to shop for development as a limited series or television movie.
The financier also had ties to President Donald Trump, who was his neighbor in Palm Beach and also reportedly flew on Epstein’s private jet. Trump told reporters he used to be friends with Epstein but they had a “falling out” over a business dispute “about 15 years ago.” The president added that he’s “not a fan” of Epstein.
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