Millionaire and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning, his death considered suicide by hanging. The financier and convicted sex offender was facing federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.
Law enforcement agencies confirmed to ABC News that Epstein was found hanging in his cell Saturday morning; he was then transported in cardiac arrest at approximately 6:30 a.m. EST from Metropolitan Correctional Center to New York Downtown Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Two weeks earlier on July 23rd, Epstein was found semi-conscious and injured following an alleged failed suicide attempt at Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Epstein was 66 at the time of his death. One day earlier, unsealed records implicated a number of high-profile businessmen, politicians and scientists involved in Epstein’s case and revealed details of new sexual abuse claims against the financier. Epstein was being held without bail in Manhattan after pleading not guilty to the federal charges; he faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
“We are enormously sorry to learn of today’s news. No one should die in jail,” Epstein’s defense team said in a statement (via New York Times), adding that they trusted the United States Attorney’s office and the United States Marshals Service would investigate Epstein’s death.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed Saturday morning that “the FBI is investigating the incident.”
— Paula Reid (@PaulaReidCBS) August 10, 2019
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement, “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. 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.”
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) August 10, 2019
Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz told NBC’s Sarah Fitzpatrick following Epstein’s death, “I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court. We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to two charges of soliciting underage prostitution in the state of Florida, where he owns a home. Then-state district attorney Alexander Acosta approved what has been referred to as a “sweetheart deal,” sentencing him to just 13 months in prison, much of which he served on a work-release agreement out of his Palm Beach office.
The federal charges followed a Miami Herald investigation published in 2018 that revealed details of the deal and identified more than 80 women who claimed to have been sexually abused by Epstein. In July, Acosta resigned as Donald Trump’s secretary of labor due to his role in Epstein’s plea deal.
During the execution of a search warrant in July following Epstein’s arrest on federal charges, law enforcement officials seized “an extraordinary volume of photographs of nude and partially-nude young women or girls” at his private Upper East Side residence.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 confidential text messaging service that provides support to people in crisis when they text 741741.