New York - Jeffrey Epstein, the politically connected financier and registered sex offender charged recently with sexually abusing dozens of young girls in the early 2000s, has apparently died by suicide in prison, according to a person familiar with the matter and multiple media reports.
Epstein, 66, hanged himself in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, though the exact timing was unclear according to ABC News, which was first to report the development.
Epstein, a multimillionaire with ties to celebrities and politicians including President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, was arrested last month on federal sex trafficking charges that could have put in him prison for 45 years. Prosecutors alleged he abused dozens of young girls at his Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, homes and enlisted his victims to bring him others.
Epstein had pleaded not guilty in the case, and a federal judge had recently denied his request to be released to home confinement.
Last month, Epstein was found in his cell with marks around his neck, and authorities were trying to determine if he was attacked or attempted suicide. He showed no obvious signs of distress at a later court hearing.
A Justice Department spokeswoman and a spokesman for the US attorney's Office in New York, which brought the new case against Epstein, declined to comment. Spokespeople for the Bureau of Prisons, officials with the Metropolitan Correctional Center and Epstein's lawyers did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
Epstein's case had attracted widespread attention - in part because of his wealth and political connections, and in part because of a lenient plea deal he reached more than a decade ago to resolve similar allegations. That 2008 agreement allowed Epstein to plead guilty to just two state charges in Florida, avoiding federal exposure entirely, and spend just 13 months in jail, with work-release privileges.
The deal was approved by Alex Acosta, who was then the U.S. attorney in Miami and would go on to become Trump's labor secretary - a post he resigned after Epstein was charged last month and the controversy over the previous case was reignited.
The Washington Post