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Jeffrey Epstein — the wealthy financier, registered sex offender, and accused child trafficker — died in an apparent suicide at his Manhattan jail cell Saturday morning.
The 66-year-old hung himself in his cell, according to several media outlets speaking to jail sources. NBC News reported he died Saturday morning at a hospital in Lower Manhattan, where he went into cardiac arrest upon arrival.
Epstein was being held without bail in Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center after he was indicted on charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy last month for allegations that he trafficked and abused underage girls. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and faced up to 45 years in prison.
A spokesperson for the Southern District of New York declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
Epstein’s lawyers had previously asked prosecutors to grant him house arrest at his Manhattan townhouse, but prosecutors considered Epstein to be a significant flight risk due to his multiple private jets and piles of cash. He was also found injured in his jail cell more than two weeks ago with bruises around his neck.
Dozens of women had accused Epstein of sexually abusing them when they were teenagers — some as young as 14 — by luring them into his vast Manhattan and Palm Beach estates under the guise of paying them for “massages.” He’s also been accused of roping those girls into a global sex trafficking ring, through which he facilitated the abuse of his alleged victims by other powerful, wealthy men. Prosecutors allege he ran such an operation between New York and Palm Beach from at least 2002 to 2005.
Epstein faced similar allegations of sex trafficking of underage girls more than a decade ago and cut a notoriously cushy plea deal in 2008 that allowed him to avoid federal charges and instead pleaded guilty to lesser state prostitution charges. He was also allowed to leave his Florida jail cell to work six days a week. He allegedly abused at least one woman during that lenient jail sentence.
Hundreds of court documents and taped deposition unsealed Friday alleged that Epstein worked with Ghislaine Maxwell, the British socialite, to recruit young girls into his scheme. (Maxwell has denied all accusations against her.) One of Epstein’s more public victims, Virginia Giuffre, said Epstein and Maxwell facilitated her alleged sexual abuse by Prince Andrew, financier Glenn Dubin, former Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. All of the men have denied involvement with Giuffre.
Greg Walters contributed to this report.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.
Cover image: This July 27, 2006, file photo, provided by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office shows Jeffrey Epstein. (Palm Beach Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
(New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)