Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, 66, has died inside a Manhattan correctional facility, two senior law enforcement officials told The Daily Beast. They said that it appeared he had committed suicide.
Epstein was being held without bail at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan as he faces charges of child sex trafficking
He had been placed on suicide watch after he was found last month
in his cell "in medical distress" with "apparent bruising on his neck."
The financier's sudden death comes only a day after a court unsealed documents
that show one of his accusers claimed that he and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell trafficked her to powerful men for sex
. None of the other men accused have been charged of a crime and all deny the allegations—as has Maxwell, a British socialite who served as Epstein's girlfriend and assistant—and, his victims say, his de facto madam.
Scores of young women have been coming forward for more than a decade to accuse Epstein of sexual abuse, starting with dozens of underage girls in Florida. But the U.S. Attorney's office in Miami decided not to pursue federal charges against the well-connected money man in 2007, allowing him instead to plead guilty to a pair of state prostitution charges. He served 18 months, most of it in the Palm Beach County jail on a lenient work release program
That deal—which also gave broad immunity to any of Epstein's potential co-conspirators—is now under intense scrutiny, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis directing state law enforcement to take over a probe
into how Epstein was allowed to leave his cell for 12 hours a day to visit his office and his home. At least one woman has claimed that Epstein abused her
while on his work release.
With Epstein's death, victims and their advocates have again been denied their day in court. Julie Brown, whose reporting for the Miami Herald
helped reignite the Epstein case, said on CNN Saturday morning that the focus will now turn on who else should be held accountable to bring justice to the young women whose childhoods were robbed by Epstein.