Jeffrey Epstein, centre, appears in court in West Palm Beach, Florida. File picture: Uma Sanghvi/Palm Beach Post via AP

Jeffrey Epstein, the US financier facing federal sex trafficking charges, committed suicide on Friday night in his lower Manhattan jail cell, several U.S. media outlets reported on Saturday.

Epstein, who was arrested on July 6, had pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14, from at least 2002 to 2005.

The charges were announced more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.

He was confined in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan while he appealed a district judge's refusal to let him live under 24-hour guard in his home on the Upper East Side. 

Epstein enjoyed a close friendship with US president Donald Trump for nearly twenty years before the two allegedly fell out over a property deal.

A woman who accused Epstein of keeping her as a sex slave said one of the financier's associates had instructed her to have sex with at least a half-dozen prominent men, according to a court filing unsealed on Friday in a civil lawsuit.

The claim by Virginia Giuffre came in a deposition that was included among roughly 2,000 pages of documents related to her defamation lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, the associate whom Giuffre has said helped Epstein procure girls for sex. Maxwell has not been criminally charged.

Reuters