Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead from an apparent suicide in a New York jail, just days after a lawsuit from one of his alleged victims was unsealed, naming Prince Andrew and more of his former high profile friends.
The wealthy US financier, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell in Metropolitan Correctional Center (sic), where he was awaiting trial on charges of conspiracy and sex trafficking. He was rushed to New York Downtown Hospital but later pronounced dead.
“Saturday, August 10, 2019, at approximately 6.30am, inmate Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell … subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff,” a statement from the Metropolitan Correctional Center (sic) read.
The US Department of Justice added in the statement that his death was the result of
an “apparent suicide”.
Attorney general William Barr admitted he was “appalled” by the news and confirmed he has opened an investigation by the Department of Justice’s inspector general.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death,” Barr added in his statement.
Lawyers for several of Epstein’s alleged victims have since spoken out, calling for investigations to continue.
Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents three of the accusers, released a statement from one of them anonymously on Twitter after hearing the news.
“I will never have a sense of closure now. I am angry as hell that the prison could have allowed this to happen and that I and his other victims will never see him face the consequences for his horrendous actions,” the statement read.
From one of my Jeffrey Epstein victim clients this morning. pic.twitter.com/8gRozyQPMP
— Lisa Bloom (@LisaBloom) August 10, 2019
“I hope that whoever allowed this to happen also faces some type of consequence. You stole from us, the huge piece of healing that we needed to move on with our lives.”
Meanwhile New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez added on social media: “We need answers. Lots of them.”
Epstein was previously arrested over a series of allegations of sexual misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005. He pleaded not guilty to all charges.
It comes just days after a series of documents detailing allegations of sexual misconduct were unsealed – also naming Prince Andrew and a series of other former friends.
The documents from a 2015 defamation case were released by a judge on Friday. The case was brought by Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein, against socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
The documents include an allegation by a woman called Johanna Sjoberg, who claimed Prince Andrew touched her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein’s apartment in Manhattan in 2001.
They also include transcripts from a past deposition in which Giuffre claimed she was forced into a sexual encounter with the Duke of York. Buckingham Palace strongly denied the allegation in 2015, saying in a statement that “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors” by the prince was “categorically untrue”.
They are yet to publicly comment on the latest claims.