The apparent suicide of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein immediately spawned allegations of prison negligence and even murder – and no wonder, given the confusing, scarce data available. Here’s what we know.
It’s been confirmed that Epstein was found dead in his cell in the special housing unit of New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday morning at around 6:30am EST.
A number of officials told media outlets that Epstein had hanged himself in his cell, but no one, at the time of writing, has confirmed this publicly
If Epstein’s death is still under investigation, and no one can explain yet how he killed himself, why is mainstream media reporting it definitively as a suicide? Even the FBI is calling it an “apparent suicide.” https://t.co/GRnz3ob94f pic.twitter.com/BHDF3tAShs
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) August 10, 2019
JUST IN: Attorney General Bill Barr on Jeffrey Epstein: "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." https://t.co/FDocDgKcXQ pic.twitter.com/j4uisPpCgJ
— ABC News (@ABC) August 10, 2019
The 66-year-old, a convicted pedophile, had been held at the New York prison since his arrest last month on child sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. He pled not guilty to the charges, which carried a penalty of up to 45 years in prison.
I was arrested when I was 18 for skateboarding
They took my shoelaces and belt even though it was a slap on the wrist and I went home within a couple of hours and that was the end of it
How did Epstein manage to hang himself while on suicide watch and being so high profile?
— Tim Pool (@Timcast) August 10, 2019
Epstein was supposedly kept under this supervision after he was found semi-conscious on the floor of his cell two weeks ago, with marks on his neck. Speculation in the media immediately turned to how a man on suicide watch could have possibly killed himself. According to BOP policy, in addition to the constant monitoring, a suicidal inmate’s cell “may not have fixtures or architectural features” that would enable self-harm, such as hooks or bunks that could be used to tie a rope around.
Follow-up on that:
Various reports state that Epstein had been removed from suicide watch.
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) August 10, 2019
— New York Post (@nypost) August 10, 2019
There should be footage of Epstein killing himself, right?
— Cassandra Fairbanks (@CassandraRules) August 10, 2019
Rumors circulated on Saturday that the cameras supposedly monitoring Epstein had mysteriously “malfunctioned” at the time of his death, adding fuel to the theories of foul play already circulating. However, these rumors can be traced back to an unsubstantiated tweet by right wing commenter Michael Coudrey, which was picked up and spread by a suspicious public.
Pending further investigation, rumors will likely continue to circulate. Epstein’s death came at a suspicious time, occurring just one day after court documents were unsealed alleging that Epstein had procured young girls for some of the world’s most powerful and wealthiest men, including British prince Andrew, billionaire investor Glenn Dubin, former governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, and a number of other unnamed foreign political and business figures.
As Epstein was the only defendant in the case against him, the trail now goes cold.
However, in a court filing last month, the government said it was pursuing an “ongoing investigation of uncharged individuals” connected to Epstein, and US Attorney Geoffrey Berman confirmed on Saturday that the investigation will continue despite Epstein’s death.