Jeffrey Epstein, the jet-setting financier who was being held in the Manhattan Correctional Center while awaiting his trial on charges of child sex trafficking next year, died by suicide overnight, according to multiple law enforcement sources.
Epstein reportedly hung himself and was found dead in his cell early Saturday morning. A gurney carrying a dead body which appeared to be Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Center around 7:30 a.m. this morning, according to reports. An ambulance then transported the body to New York Downtown Hospital.
The 14-page indictment against Epstein alleged that he sexually exploited dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, among other locations, between 2002 and 2005 and perhaps beyond. Some of the victims were ostensibly as young as 14 at the time the alleged crimes occurred.
His suicide followed the unsealing on Friday of 2,000 pages of court records by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit connected to the defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s on-again-off-again girlfriend and longtime associate whom Giuffre has accused of helping Epstein abuse her and other women when Giuffre was underage. The records included allegations by Giuffre that Maxwell instructed her to have sex with the U.K.’s Prince Andrew, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and former Sen. George Mitchell as well as money manager Glenn Dubin and MIT professor Marvin Minksy, among other high-profile figures.
Epstein’s extensive network of high-profile people in the upper echelons of society reached around the world.
He hosted Bill Clinton at a private Caribbean island called Little St James, and flew Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker to Africa as part of a humanitarian project. Prince Andrew is known to have gone on holidays with Epstein up until around 2010.
Epstein was also an associate of Donald Trump and previously a regular at the US president’s Mar-a-Lago club.
Mr Trump can be seen chatting and joking with Epstein during a party at his Mar-a-Lago resort in archive video. The pair are admiring a group of young women in footage unearthed by NBC News and dating to 1992.
Mr Trump is seen to lean towards Epstein and apparently say: “Look at her, back there. … She’s hot”. Shortly afterwards, a second comment from Mr Trump prompts Epstein to double over with laughter.
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“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” the now president, told New York magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
The news of Epstein’s death comes as Prince Andrew was accused in newly released legal documents of groping a young woman’s breast at the home of Epstein.
The allegation surfaced in a cache of legal papers unsealed by a US judge in a defamation case involving Ghislaine Maxwell – a British socialite alleged to have supplied Epstein and his well-off social circle with underage girls.
Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein who also claimed she was forced into a sexual encounter with Prince Andrew, sued Ms Maxwell in 2015.
In the legal documents, released on Friday, Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, said Prince Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside Epstein’s Manhattan flat in 2001. Buckingham Palace has insisted the allegations about the Duke of York are “categorically untrue”.
Prince Andrew groped young woman at flat belonging to billionaire paedophile, court documents allege
‘I sat on Andrew’s lap, and I believe on my own volition, and they took the puppet’s hands and put it on Virginia’s breast, and so Andrew put his on mine,’ says Johanna Sjoberg
Epstein was facing fresh charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy and was due to potentially stand trial next year.
The new charges laid against Epstein concern trafficking allegations involving dozens of minors from 2002 to 2005 allegedly carried out in Florida and New York. Epstein’s lawyers said they should be wiped as the new legal action backtracks on a plea agreement which saw him admit his 2008 charge in return for immunity from future allegations.
Epstein had previously been relocated to a suicide-watch unit after being found unconscious in his jail cell with marks on his neck on 23 July – a week after his bail request was rejected.
The arrest was first reported by the Daily Beast.
Epstein was reportedly found nearly unconscious on his cell floor with marks on his neck back in July, but it had never been officially confirmed by authorities whether he had attempted to take his own life, whether he’d been assaulted by another inmate, or whether it was a ploy to change prisons.
The wealthy businessman, already a convicted sex offender following a sweetheart plea deal in 2008, was arrested at the airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, after returning from an overseas trip to Paris in early July. Epstein’s home in New York City was raided by law enforcement as well, and investigators found nude photographs of underage girls, thousands of dollars in cash, dozens of loose diamonds, and a foreign passport from the 1980s with Epstein’s picture and a false name.
In denying him bail earlier this month, the judge said that Epstein posed a “significant” danger to the community and agreed with prosecutors that he was a serious flight risk.