Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died Saturday from an apparent suicide, federal officials said. The federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement the FBI was investigating his death.
Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell at a holding facility in New York City at around 6:30 a.m., according to the statement. Staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center tried to revive him, and he was eventually taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The New York City medical examiner’s office was also investigating Epstein’s cause of death, a spokesperson told CBS News, and will conduct an autopsy and toxicology test to determine the cause. Federal prosecutors in New York alleged Epstein abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
Epstein was found injured on the floor of his cell in late July. At the time, law enforcement sources told CBS News Epstein was found semi-conscious with slight bruising around his neck.
Epstein was charged last month with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking with underage females. He pleaded not guilty.
The indictment came 11 years after Epstein cut a deal with attorneys in Florida to avoid a similar charge. “Over the course of many years, Jeffrey Epstein, the defendant, sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations,” the indictment reads.
Controversial plea deal in 2008
The well-connected billionaire had admitted to sex abuse in the past. In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida to “soliciting and procuring” an underage person for “prostitution.” Court documents reveal “the charges stemmed from sexual activity with privately hired masseuses.”
Epstein’s prior guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors, who included President Trump’s future secretary of labor, Alex Acosta, who resigned amid outcry over the deal after the new charges were announced. Epstein spent 13 months in a Florida county jail and had to register as a sex offender but faced immunity from federal prosecution.
image via CBS News