Millionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing sex trafficking charges for allegedly abusing dozens of minor girls, died as a result of suicide by hanging, the New York City medical examiner ruled.
Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said Friday in a statement: “After careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings, the determination on the death of Jeffrey Epstein is below — Cause: Hanging. Manner: Suicide.”
Epstein, 66, was found in his jail cell early on Aug. 10 at the Metropolitan Correction Centre in Manhattan. An unnamed official told the Washington Post that he hanged himself with a bed sheet attached to the top of a bunk bed.
His death was two weeks after he was found unconscious in his cell with bruises on his neck, and was placed on suicide watch.
Epstein’s lawyers said Friday they did not accept the medical examiner’s findings, and would conduct an independent investigation into the cause of Epstein’s death.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are currently investigating how mistakes made by Bureau of Prisons personnel may have contributed to Epstein’s death. The jail had informed the Justice Department when it took Epstein off suicide watch that Epstein would have a cellmate and a guard would check the cell every 30 minutes. Neither of those were the case at the time of his suicide.
His suicide spawned online conspiracy theories, including that Epstein was killed to keep him from incriminating others.
Epstein was set to face trial next year for his alleged offences in New York and Florida, which include paying and coercing girls as young as 14 into performing sexual acts.
The Guardian also reported that he signed a will two days before his suicide.