Jailed multimillionaire financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has died by suicide, two law enforcement sources said Saturday, a day after a court unsealed new details of the claims against him.
Epstein, 66, was taken from New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday morning in cardiac arrest and died at an area hospital, the sources told CNN.
An ambulance was called at about 6:40 a.m. Epstein was being treated by members of the detention center’s medical unit and was administered CPR, and he died a short time later at an area hospital, one of the sources said.
Epstein had been jailed since early July, when he pleaded not guilty to charges by New York federal prosecutors after an indictment accused him of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14 years old.
News of Epstein’s death comes a day after hundreds of pages of court documents were unsealed in New York federal court, alleging new details of sexual abuse claims against Epstein and several associates.
A spokeswoman for the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan, which was prosecuting Epstein, declined to comment on Saturday.
An attorney for Epstein, Reid Weingarten, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
He was put on suicide watch after July injuries
Just weeks ago, Epstein was placed on a suicide watch after he was found July 23 in his Manhattan jail cell with marks on his neck, a law enforcement source and a source familiar with the incident told CNN at the time.
It was not clear to jail officials at the time if the injuries, which were not serious, were self-inflicted or the result of an assault, the sources said. Epstein told authorities he was beaten up and called a child predator, they said.
July indictment followed 2007 plea deal
Epstein was officially accused, in part, of paying girls as young as 14 to have sex with him at his Upper East Side Manhattan home and his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005.
Federal prosecutors said he used employees and associates to lure the girls to his residences and then paid some of his victims to recruit other girls for him to abuse.
He was awaiting trial on charges of trafficking of minors and conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking.
A federal judge in mid-July ordered Epstein to remain in jail pending trial, turning down the multimillionaire’s request to return to his Upper East Side mansion under supervision.
Epstein faced similar accusations in Florida in 2007 but signed a plea deal that year with Miami prosecutors allowing him to avoid federal charges and plead guilty to lesser state prostitution charges.
The new charges renewed attention on the plea deal, spurring outrage against it and leading to the resignation of Trump administration Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, who negotiated the plea agreement when he was the US attorney in Miami.
Civil lawsuits could continue
Though criminal charges won’t be pursued against a deceased defendant, accusers still could file civil lawsuits seeking money from Epstein’s estate, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan said.
One such lawsuit is expected to be filed as soon as Wednesday by a woman who alleges Epstein raped her when she was 15. Wednesday is the day that New York’s Child Victims Act goes into effect, giving adult survivors of child sexual abuse one year to sue an abuser for offenses in New York, no matter how long ago the abuse took place.
“(Epstein’s) estate, you can imagine, would be sued by a lot of potential victims. So, his suicide will not end coverage and the interest in the Jeffrey Epstein case,” Callan said.