Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire financier who faced charges of sex trafficking, was found dead Saturday morning. He was 66 years old.
Epstein hanged himself in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, according to multiple reports. He was placed on suicide watch two weeks ago after he was found injured with marks on his neck.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons confirmed Epsteins suicide in a statement, saying he “was found unresponsive in his cell” at approximately 6:30 a.m. Soon after, Epstein “was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff.” The FBI is investigating the incident.
Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Epstein in July with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14 years old and collecting child pornography. He pled not guilty, but was denied bail after a judge determined he posed a significant flight risk. If convicted, he faced up to 45 years in prison.
Epstein’s suicide comes a day after court records were unsealed in which Virginia Giuffre, who alleges that the financier kept her as a teenage sex slave, claims that she was forced to have sex and perform erotic massages on a list of powerful people who include Britain’s Prince Andrew, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and former U.S. Senator George Mitchell. All three men deny the allegations.
Epstein’s case has attracted a great deal of media attention in part because the businessman had a network of friends in Hollywood, Wall Street, academia, and Washington. They include Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Mick Jagger, Kevin Spacey, Chris Tucker, former President Bill Clinton, and President Donald Trump. Epstein’s legal troubles have caused issues for people in the entertainment industry and in politics.
Alexander Acosta was forced to resign as U.S. labor secretary last month amid reports that he signed a sweetheart plea deal with Epstein while he was a U.S. attorney. And Peggy Siegel, a publicist routinely employed by film studios and television networks as a party planner, has suffered an exodus of clients after news broke that she arranged for Epstein to attend premieres and arranged social functions for him in exchange for free travel.