NEW YORK, August 10 -- Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.
Epstein hung himself and his body was found this morning at Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan at 7.30am. New York federal prosecutors last month charged Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behaviour have been emerging for years. A cache of previously sealed legal documents, released on Friday by a federal appeals court, provided new, disturbing details about what was going on inside Epstein’s homes and how his associates recruited young women and girls, including from a Florida high school. The documents – among the most expansive sets of materials publicly disclosed in the 13 years since Epstein was first charged with sex crimes – include depositions, police incident reports, photographs, receipts, flight logs and even a memoir written by a woman who says she was a sex-trafficking victim of Epstein and his acquaintances. The documents were filed as part of a defamation lawsuit in federal court that Ms Virginia Giuffre brought in 2015 against Ms Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s longtime companion and confidant. Ms Giuffre and Ms Maxwell settled the lawsuit shortly before the trial was to begin in 2017.
The Miami Herald and other media outlets petitioned the court to have the lawsuit documents unsealed. The request was initially denied, but an appeals court ordered them released last month, just days before Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty. Epstein, a financier with opulent homes, a private jet and access to elite circles, had been dogged for decades by accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual acts in Florida. He previously avoided federal criminal charges in 2008 after prosecutors brokered a widely criticised deal that allowed him to plea to solicitation of prostitution from a minor and serve 13 months in jail.