Epstein found unconscious in jail
A week after being denied bail, Jeffrey E. Epstein was found unconscious in his cell on Tuesday at a federal jail in Manhattan with marks on his neck, and prison officials were treating the incident as a possible suicide attempt, a law enforcement official who had been briefed on the matter said.
Epstein’s injuries were not serious, said the official, who requested his name not be published because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
A second law enforcement official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Epstein had been discovered in his cell with “bruising around the neck”.
The Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for information. The department of justice declined to comment.
Last week, Judge Richard M. Berman of the Federal District Court denied bail for Epstein, rejecting his request to be detained at his Upper East Side mansion as he awaited trial.
His lawyers had proposed allowing him to post a substantial bond and stay in his mansion guarded by 24-hour security, at his expense. Prosecutors opposed that proposal, arguing Epstein was seeking “special treatment” and trying to build his own private jail — a “gilded cage”.
Epstein, 66, was arrested on July 6 at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey after a flight from Paris.
He is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
An indictment unsealed on July 8 charged him with sex trafficking and conspiracy. Prosecutors said that between 2002 and 2005, Epstein and his employees paid dozens of underage girls to engage in sex acts with him at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida.
Epstein faces up to 45 years in prison if he is convicted of sex-trafficking and conspiracy charges, and the long sentence, the government argued, gave him a motive to flee.
He has pleaded not guilty.
For years, Epstein, a hedge fund manager, has socialised with famous and powerful people including former President Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of Britain and President Trump.
An investigation into accusations against him was opened in Florida in 2005.
But in 2008, prosecutors in Miami made a secret deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal prosecution.
He spent about a year in a Palm Beach jail, where he was allowed to leave six days a week for work.
The plea deal was overseen by R. Alexander Acosta, then a US attorney in Florida.
He was widely criticised as letting Epstein off the hook and has since resigned as Trump’s labour secretary.
When Judge Berman denied Epstein’s bail on July 18, he said Epstein was a flight risk, citing his “vast wealth” — prosecutors say they believe he is worth more than $500 million — including private planes and residences abroad.
He pointed to a safe the authorities said they found in Epstein’s Manhattan home that contained cash, diamonds and an expired passport issued by a foreign country (later identified as Austria) that had Epstein’s photo but a different name.
Two women who said Epstein had abused them bolstered the government’s argument, urging Judge Berman to deny him bail.
“He’s a scary person to have walking the streets,” said Courtney Wild, who said Epstein began sexually abusing her when she was 14.