Jeffrey Epstein has died: Financier facing sex trafficking charges dies from apparent suicide today

Jeffrey Epstein has died: Financier facing sex trafficking charges dies from apparent suicide today
Investigations into Jeffrey Epstein’s death continue

Jeffrey Epstein: What we know and what comes next

  • Jeffrey Epstein, 66, died Saturday from an apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail.
  • He was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
  • There are multiple investigations into the death. Attorney General William Barr said he was “appalled.”
  • Accusers and their attorneys feel they have been denied justice and say their civil cases against Epstein’s estate will proceed.
  • There may be investigations into potential co-conspirators.

Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died Saturday from an apparent suicide, federal officials said. The federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement the FBI was investigating his death.

Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell at a holding facility in New York City at around 6:30 a.m., according to the statement. Staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center tried to revive him, and he was eventually taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The New York City medical examiner’s office was also investigating Epstein’s cause of death, a spokesperson told CBS News, and will conduct an autopsy and toxicology test to determine the cause. Federal prosecutors in New York alleged Epstein abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14.

Epstein was found injured on the floor of his cell in late July. At the time, law enforcement sources told CBS News Epstein was found semi-conscious with slight bruising around his neck.

Epstein was charged last month with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking with underage females. He pleaded not guilty.

The indictment came 11 years after Epstein cut a deal with attorneys in Florida to avoid a similar charge. “Over the course of many years, Jeffrey Epstein, the defendant, sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations,” the indictment reads.

An attorney who has represented more than a dozen women accusing Epstein of sexual abuse called the apparent suicide “unfortunate and predictable.”

“We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice,” Edwards said. In a statement on Twitter, Lisa Bloom, who represents three accusers, said civil cases would continue.

Medical examiner conducts autopsy

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson released a statement on Sunday saying her office had conducted an autopsy on Epstein but that “the ME’s determination is pending further information at this time.”

“At the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, I allowed a private pathologist (Dr. Michael Baden) to observe the autopsy examination. This is routine practice. My office defers to the involved law enforcement agencies regarding other investigations around this death,” Sampson said in a statement.

Epstein’s death raises questions about what happens next in cases involving him

Jeffrey Epstein’s death raises many questions

Epstein’s alleged victims said through their attorneys they are angry they won’t get a chance for justice since the criminal case will end with his death.

“I don’t blame them for being very angry,” said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman. “They have lived with shame – either privately or publicly – they deserve their day in court to show that they are survivors. They deserve their day in court to show that they are survivors. “

Klieman said the spotlight could now turn to Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstien’s one-time girlfriend who has been accused of procuring girls for him.

Civil cases against him can proceed against his estate, Klieman said.

Sen. Ben Sasse demands Justice Department investigate Epstein’s death: “Heads must roll”

Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr Saturday afternoon demanding the Department of Justice investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide in jail. Sasse also called for those who allowed Epstein’s death to occur under their watch to be fired.

“The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal. Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” the Republican senator wrote in his letter to Barr.

“Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance. Obviously, heads must roll,” Sasse continued.

Sasse asked Barr confirm he is ordering two investigations: one into the Bureau of Prison’s mismanagement of Epstein’s incarceration, and one into potential criminal activity surrounding this mismanagement.

— Grace Segers

Attorney general livid about Epstein’s death

A person familiar with Attorney General William Barr’s thinking told CBS News Barr was livid about Epstein’s death and was determined to get to the bottom of it. In a statement, Barr said he was “appalled” by the death.

“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said. “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.”

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman called Epstein’s death “disturbing” and acknowledged it presented another hurdle to giving his accusers their day in court. “To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing,” Berman said.

Jeffrey Epstein accuser “angry as hell” he died before trial

Congresswoman Jackie Speier calls for investigation

“Jeffrey Epstein was a serial child molester who evaded accountability because he was rich, powerful, and well-connected,” Congresswoman Jackie Speier said in a statement. “His suicide doesn’t change that. We need answers as to how this could have happened. Most importantly, we need justice for his victims.”

Speier, a co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and member of the House Oversight Committee, pointed to Epstein’s connections to people in power and said more investigation is needed.

“A cache of documents unsealed yesterday shows Epstein had a vast network of young girls he abused and trafficked and that he was aided and abetted by law enforcement, prosecutors, and others who looked the other way. Their complicity in his crimes didn’t just fail these young girls in their bid for justice, it was a further violation of their trust and lives,” the statement says.

“With the criminal proceedings against Epstein over, it is time for the Committee on Oversight and Reform to conduct an investigation as to how this preferential plea deal happened in the first place. Epstein’s crimes were not contained to him. Congress has a duty to ensure all those who played a role in this travesty of justice answer to those crimes. The survivors of Epstein’s exploitation demand and deserve nothing less.”

Epstein’s death follows release of documents

On Friday, thousands of pages of documents were unsealed in federal court in a case against Epstein. The documents include a sworn deposition from 2016 when alleged victim Virginia Giuffre was asked which politically connected and financially powerful people she was directed to have sex with as a minor.

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Britain’s Prince Andrew and high-powered attorney Alan Dershowitz were all named in the documents. They all denied Giuffre’s allegations.

Giuffre has long accused Epstein and his onetime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, of sexually abusing and recruiting her into the alleged trafficking ring. The court documents stem from a now-settled defamation lawsuit between Giuffre and Maxwell.

Jeffrey Epstein dies a day after release of court documents

“Victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable.” “Civil cases can still proceed.”

An attorney who has represented more than a dozen women accusing Epstein of sexual abuse called the apparent suicide “unfortunate and predictable.”

“While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for,” Brad Edwards said in a statement. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”

“We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice,” Edwards said. In a statement on Twitter, Lisa Bloom, who represents three accusers, said civil cases would continue.

“Predator Jeffrey Epstein killed himself. On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started.”

Bloom later posted to Twitter a statement from one of her clients. “I will never have a sense of closure now,” the statement said. “I’m angry as hell that the prison could have allowed this to happen and that I and his other victims will never see him face the consequences for his horrendous actions. I hope that whoever allowed this to happen, also faces some type of consequence. You stole from us, the huge piece of healing that we needed to move on with our lives.”

What happens in Jeffrey Epstein cases after his death?

Controversial plea deal in 2008

The well-connected billionaire had admitted to sex abuse in the past. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to “soliciting and procuring” an underage person for “prostitution.” Court documents reveal “the charges stemmed from sexual activity with privately hired masseuses.”

Epstein’s prior guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who included President Trump’s future secretary of labor, Alex Acosta, who resigned amid outcry over the deal after the new charges were announced. Epstein spent 13 months in a Florida county jail and had to register as a sex offender but faced immunity from federal prosecution.

 

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