New York City’s chief medical officer has performed an autopsy on Jeffrey Epstein, but the results were inconclusive.
Jeffrey Epstein’s Apparent Suicide
On Saturday, August 10, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons announced that Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. The agency called Epstein’s death an apparent suicide. Epstein, 66, was being held on sex trafficking charges.
Federal prosecutors charged Epstein with sex trafficking girls who were as young as 14 and orchestrating a sex trafficking conspiracy. The indictment noted Epstein’s connections to numerous prominent figures including President Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, and Prince Andrew.
In 2008, Epstein avoided federal criminal charges after prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty to state charges of solicitation of prostitution from a minor and serve just 13 months in jail. While Epstein was in jail, he was allowed to leave for 12 hours a day, six days a week, to go to work at his office.
Just one day prior, thousands of documents from a civil suit had been released, implicating Epstein of sexually abusing underage girls. Epstein had previously tried to commit suicide and had just been released from suicide watch 11 days earlier. Epstein was on suicide watch from July 23 to July 29, which required him to have extra security. There was no immediate explanation as to why Epstein had been taken off of suicide watch. The FBI said that it was investigating and Attorney General William P. Barr said that he would conduct a special inquiry into what happened.
Barr said, “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. … Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.”
According to the jail policy, Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by two guards every 30 minutes. The New York Times reported that the guards “fell asleep, failed to check on him for about three hours and falsified records to cover up their mistake.” Epstein was also supposed to be housed with a cellmate, but his cellmate had recently been transferred. This decision was another violation of the jail’s procedures.
Epstein’s defense team declined to comment on the circumstances of his death, but released a statement saying, “We are enormously sorry to learn of today’s news. No one should die in jail.”
Dr. Barbara Sampson is the chief medical examiner in New York City. Dr. Sampson released a statement saying that a city medical examiner performed an autopsy on Epstein while a private pathologist observed; however, more information is needed before a cause of death determination is made.
The private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, observed the autopsy at the request of Epstein’s representatives. Dr. Baden was the chief medical examiner in New York City in the late 1970s and has been an expert witness in such high-profile cases as O.J. Simpson’s 1994 murder trial.
The Medical Examiner concluded that Epstein’s death was caused by hanging and that his death was a suicide. While the Medical Examiner’s conclusion refutes unfounded conspiracy theories that have surrounded the death, the private expert who observed the autopsy has not yet made a public statement about the cause of death.