Nearly four years after billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found fatally hanged in his cell at a now-shuttered federal lockup in Manhattan, officials attempted to confirm it was a suicide in a report released on June 27, 2023, by Michael Horowitz, Inspector General (IG) for the U.S. Department of Justice, parent agency of the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
The 66-year-old Epstein was awaiting trial at Metropolitan Correctional Center on fresh charges of trafficking underage girls. Two guards were fired after his August 2019 death, both sentenced to community service and probation for falsifying cell-checks while they napped and shopped online instead. Yet the remaining circumstances of Epstein’s death seemed as murky as the source of his half-billion-dollar fortune, which the son of working-class parents amassed from a hedge fund that he somehow opened after just a short stint at Wall Street’s Bear Stearns investment bank, now part of J.P. Morgan Chase (JPMC).
Horowitz’s report chastised BOP for its guards’ “negligence, misconduct, and outright job performance failures.” But it also insisted Epstein took his own life—pushing back against conspiracy theories fed by speculation that Epstein’s predilection for underage girls was shared in his social circle of famously wealthy men, like Britain’s Prince Andrew and former Pres. Donald J. Trump (R). Without much legal maneuvering, Epstein’s alleged victims have also received $375 million in payouts from JPMC and German financial giant Deutsche Bank.
For grooming his victims, Epstein’s surviving girlfriend, British heiress Ghislaine Maxwell, 61, is serving a 20-year sentence at a BOP lockup for women in Florida, where her high-class needs have reportedly run head-on into the prison system’s dreary reality, earning her a tabloid nickname: “Prison Karen.”
In early June, less than a month before the IG report was released, BOP shipped some 4,000 pages of documentation in response to a records request by AP News, which then reported that Epstein was on suicide watch after an apparently half-hearted attempt on his own life—leaving his neck “bruised and scraped”—only to tell a prison mental health worker just before he died that his life was “wonderful” and that ending it “would be crazy.”
Sources: AP News, New York Post, New York Times, Washington Post
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