Updated Aug 12, 2019

Jeffrey Epstein dead in apparent suicide

Jeffrey Epstein. Photo: Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Jeffrey Epstein, a financier and registered sex offender accused of sex trafficking female minors, is dead in an apparent suicide at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center.

The latest: Law enforcement officials said Epstein, 66, hanged himself and was found in his jail cell Saturday about 7:30am. Attorney General Bill Barr asked the inspector general to open an investigation into Epstein's death, as the FBI conducts its own investigation. Authorities investigated a previous suicide attempt in July. An autopsy was performed on his body, officials said Sunday, without releasing details, per AP.

  • Epstein was under extra security in a special unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, but not under suicide watch, a prison official told the Times.
  • Epstein's first court appearance was July 31, wherein a federal judge set a tentative trial date for his sex-trafficking case for mid-2020.
"Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court. To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing."
— Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, in a statement on Saturday

Context: Epstein was accused of sex trafficking minors, witness tampering and paying underage girls hundreds of dollars to engage in sexual acts. He also allegedly asked them to recruit others.

A collection of previously sealed legal documents was released on Friday by a federal appeals court, publicly divulging new details on how Epstein and his associates allegedly recruited young women and girls, including from a Florida high school.

  • Epstein avoided federal criminal charges in 2008 after taking a plea deal that involved then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta. Acosta was confirmed as Labor Secretary in the Trump administration. He has since resigned.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, in addition to prevention and crisis resources. Also available for online chat.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the latest developments on the autopsy and to reflect that Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death.

Go deeper: What we know about the Jeffrey Epstein indictment

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What we know: The life and death of Jeffrey Epstein

A protest group called "Hot Mess" holds signs of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the Federal courthouse on July 8. Photo: Stephanie Keith / Stringer/Getty Images.

Federal prosecutors charged multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein with sexual abuse and sex trafficking of underage girls in July. On Aug. 10, the 66-year-old was found dead in an apparent suicide at a federal detention center in New York City.

The latest: After alleged victims and their attorneys testified at a hearing on Aug. 27, a federal judge formally closed the criminal sex trafficking case against Epstein Aug. 29. Meanwhile, prosecutors in France opened a preliminary investigation into Epstein, "in connection with possible offenses such as rape, the sexual assault of minors and criminal conspiracy" in late August.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Aug 22, 2019

AG Bill Barr removes acting Bureau of Prisons director after Epstein death

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Bar has ordered the removal of acting director of the Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz following the suicide of alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein in the Manhattan Metropolitan Correctional Center.

The big picture: Barr has previously said there were "serious irregularities" at the MCC and that the Justice Department will ensure that those responsible for the oversight are held accountable. Barr has appointed Kathleen Hawk Sawyer as the director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and Thomas Kane as deputy director. Hawk Sawyer previously served as director of the bureau from 1992 to 2003.

Go deeperArrowAug 19, 2019

Prosecutors in France move to investigate Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein's apartment in Paris on August 13. Photo: Mehdi Taamallah/Nurphoto via Getty Images

Prosecutors in France are opening a preliminary investigation into deceased sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, "in connection with possible offenses such as rape, the sexual assault of minors and criminal conspiracy," the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The criminal case against Epstein technically ended with his death. But as American prosecutors refocus their attention on possible accomplices in Epstein's sex-trafficking ring and some accusers plan to file new suits, FBI and international investigations are gaining traction and the scope of the case continues to expand.

Go deeperArrowAug 24, 2019