Epstein death ruled suicide by hanging
The New York City medical examiner ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide Friday, confirming after nearly a week of speculation that the financier hanged himself in his jail cell.
Epstein, 66, was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, touching off outrage that such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unwatched.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that she made the suicide determination “after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings.”
The Bureau of Prisons said at the time that Epstein had apparently killed himself, but that did not squelch conspiracy theories about his death.
One of Epstein’s lawyers, Marc Fernich, declined to comment. An office telephone number for Dr. Michael Baden, the pathologist hired by Epstein’s representatives to observe the autopsy, rang unanswered.
Epstein, who was charged with sexually abusing numerous underage girls over several years, had been placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on his cell floor July 23 with bruises on his neck.
But multiple people familiar with operations at the jail say he was taken off the watch after about a week and put back in a high-security housing unit where he was less closely monitored, but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.
Attorney General William Barr says officials have uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail. The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are investigating.
After Epstein’s death, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said the federal investigation into the allegations against him remains steadfast.
Barr also warned that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit,” Barr said. “The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”
Jail guards on duty the night of Epstein’s death are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half hour as required, according to several people familiar with the matter. Both were working overtime because of staffing shortages, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they lacked authorization to publicly discuss the investigation.
The Associated Press often does not report details of suicide methods but has made an exception because Epstein’s cause of death is pertinent to the ongoing investigations.
The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Thursday that the autopsy revealed that a bone in Epstein’s neck had been broken, leading to speculation his death was a homicide, though experts said the bone in question often breaks in suicidal hangings.
Autopsy reports are not public records in New York, and the details of the medical examiner’s finding, or the evidence she relied upon, were not immediately available.