Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein has died in an apparent jailhouse suicide in New York City while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges over his alleged abuse of underage girls, officials said Saturday.
Epstein, 66, appeared to have hanged himself in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Detention Center in lower Manhattan early Saturday, according to officials.
A photograph published by the New York Post showed an ashen Epstein being wheeled into a nearby hospital emergency room as New York Fire Department parademics carried out CPR.
The New York City Medical Examiner’s office confirmed Epstein’s death. “The cause and manner of death are under investigation,” a spokeswoman said.
Epstein has been at the center of a political firestorm stemming from what critics decried as an overly lenient 2008 plea deal his lawyers struck in Florida to resolve allegations he paid dozens of underage girls for massages that often included sexual activity.
The legal settlement, in which federal prosecutors agreed to forgo federal charges in exchange for Epstein pleading guilty to two state prostitution offenses, resulted in Epstein serving only 13 months in a county jail — much of it on work release at his nearby office during the day.
After federal prosecutors in New York obtained a new indictment of Epstein last month on similar charges, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta resigned due to ongoing questions about the decade-old plea agreement, which he approved as the U.S. Attorney for south Florida at the time.
The prosecution has been closely watched in political circles because Epstein was friendly in the past with a variety of well-connected and prominent businessmen, academics and politicians, including President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton. Trump flew on one of Epstein’s planes at least once, according to flight logs, while Clinton made several trips overseas on Epstein’s aircraft.
Both Trump and Clinton say they broke off all contact with Epstein a decade or more ago.
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