Jean-Luc Brunel, the modeling agent who was accused of supplying underage girls to Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead Saturday in his prison cell in Paris, where Brunel was largely held behind bars since December 2020 as French authorities pursued charges of sexual abuse and sex trafficking against him.
Much like Epstein’s own death in August 2019, the 75-year-old Brunel reportedly died by suicide before he could stand trial, with Le Monde reporting that Brunel was found hanged in his cell during a night check.
“Jean-Luc Brunel never stopped declaring his innocence,” Brunel’s lawyer said in a statement Saturday. “His decision was not guided by guilt, but by a deep sentiment of injustice.”
Brunel, who the Guardian reports was credited with discovering models like Christy Turlington and Milla Jovovich during his tenure at Karin Models, was banned from the agency in 1999 following a BBC investigation into abuse in the modeling agency. Brunel then moved to the America and linked up with Epstein, who funded Brunel’s U.S.-based MC2 Model Management.
In that role, Brunel allegedly helped Epstein procure women and underage girls, with Brunel’s name often featuring in the logs of messages sent to Epstein’s Palm Beach home. Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre, in a lawsuit, also claimed that Brunel was among the high-profile men that Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell forced her to have sex with.
“A lot of the girls came from poor countries or poor backgrounds, and [Brunel] lured them in with a promise of making good money,” Giuffre said in a 2015 affidavit. “Jeffrey Epstein has told me that he has slept with over 1,000 of Brunel’s girls, and everything that I have seen confirms this claim.”
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Following news of Brunel’s death Saturday, Giuffre tweeted, “The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and young women, ends another chapter. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to face him in a final trial to hold him accountable, but gratified that I was able to testify in person last year to keep him in prison.”
Upon Brunel’s arrest in December 2020 — when he was apprehended prior to flying from Dakar to Senegal, French prosecutor Remy Heitz said in a statement (via the Daily Beast) that the modeling agent was “suspected of having committed acts of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment on various minor or major victims and of having in particular organized the transport and accommodation of young girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein.”
While facing federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, Epstein also died by suicide in August 2019, hanging himself in his prison cell; two weeks earlier, the financier unsuccessfully attempted suicide. The circumstances of Epstein’s death fueled countless conspiracy theories, some of which proliferated into the mainstream media.