Mr. Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, hanged himself and his body was found this morning.Image Jeffrey Epstein in 2008. Credit Credit Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post, via Associated Press
Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday.
Mr. Epstein hanged himself and his body was found this morning at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan at roughly 7:30.
Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years.
He previously avoided federal criminal charges in 2008 after prosecutors brokered a widely criticized deal that allowed him to plea to solicitation of prostitution from a minor and serve 13 months in jail.
Last month, a week after being denied bail, Mr. Epstein was found unconscious in his cell at the jail in Manhattan with marks on his neck, and prison officials were investigating the incident as a possible suicide attempt.
It was not immediately clear on Saturday whether the authorities had put in additional safeguards to watch him after the incident last month.
Martin Weinberg, Mr. Epstein’s defense lawyer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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 Mr. 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Epstein and his acquaintances.
The documents were filed as part of a defamation lawsuit in federal court that Virginia Giuffre brought in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. 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 Mr. Epstein was arrested on sex-trafficking charges. He had pleaded not guilty.
William K. Rashbaum is a senior writer on the Metro desk, where he covers political and municipal corruption, courts, terrorism and broader law enforcement topics. He was a part of the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. @ WRashbaum • Facebook
Benjamin Weiser is a reporter covering the Manhattan federal courts. He has long covered criminal justice, both as a beat and investigative reporter. Before joining The Times in 1997, he worked at The Washington Post. @ BenWeiserNYT