Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker, is dead by apparent suicide, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
Epstein was in his federal jail cell in Manhattan but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News.
His death comes a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.
In July, two sources told NBC News that Epstein was on suicide watch.
His death also comes one day after a trove of court documents were unsealed providing new details about Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking.
Less than 24 hours after the documents were released, officials told NBC News that Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his jail cell at 6:30 a.m. ET. He had apparently hanged himself.
Epstein, who was being held on federal sex trafficking charges, was transported Saturday morning from the jail to a hospital in Lower Manhattan. Upon arrival, he was in cardiac arrest, people familiar with the matter say.
The Department of Justice said Epstein was pronounced dead at the hospital. The FBI is investigating his death.
Aug. 10, 201900:32
The FBI does not normally look into suicides at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility, but given the nature of this case and out of an “abundance of caution” it has undertaken this probe, a senior law enforcement official said.
There is nothing at this point to suggest foul play in Epstein’s death.
Epstein was arrested July 6 at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on a private jet. He was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking, and faced up to 45 years in prison if found guilty.
Epstein had pleaded not guilty and been denied bail.
The indictment on his case showed that he sought out minors, some as young as 14, from at least 2002 through 2005 and paying them hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, federal prosecutors revealed last month.
One alleged victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, now 36, said Jeffrey Epstein and his close associates had ordered her to have sex with several high-powered men when she was just 14 years old, according to a 2016 deposition released Friday.
Epstein had previously served 13 months of an 18-month sentence for two Florida prostitution charges. That came as the result of a 2007 plea agreement that that many considered to be far too lenient and hid its details from the victims, which was agreed to by Alexander Acosta, then the U.S. attorney in Miami.
Acosta would later serve as labor secretary during the Trump administration, a post he resigned July 19 after coming under fire over the deal with Epstein.
“I do not think it is right and fair to have this administration’s Labor Department have Epstein (as) the focus,” Acosta said at the time. “I told him [President Trump] that I felt the right thing was to step aside.”
Victims still want justice
Since Epstein’s death was first reported on Saturday, Epstein’s alleged victims have expressed anger and frustrationthat they won’t be able to see the man stand trial.
“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people,” said Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15. “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served.”
Many of the lawyers representing various of Epstein’s alleged victims also called for further investigations.
Lisa Bloom, the lawyer for some of his alleged victims, said they “would have preferred he lived to face justice,” but that they will continue to proceed in suing his estate. “Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused.”
Brad Edwards, another attorney representing some Epstein accusers, deemed his death “both unfortunate and predictable.”
“The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled is both unfortunate and predictable,” said Edwards 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.”
*see full story by NBC News