Attorney General William Barr has confirmed that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein’s death on Saturday.
The investigation is in addition to the FBI inquiry already underway.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Barr said.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.”
Washingtonexaminer.com reports: Neither the Justice Department not the inspector general’s office immediately responded to the Washington Examiner‘s request for further details.
The Bureau of Prisons released a statement on Saturday stating that the jet-setting financier and sex offender was found “unresponsive in his cell” located in the Special Housing Unit at around 6:30 a.m. this morning following “an apparent suicide.” Officials said lifesaving efforts were immediately undertaken and that emergency medical services were quickly called. Epstein was brought to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to a representative for NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner who spoke with the Washington Examiner, “there is no official cause of death yet” as “the medical examiner has to do their job.”
“We are investigating the cause of death and we have an open case,” the representative said.
The 14-page indictment against Epstein alleged that he sexually exploited dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, among other locations, between 2002 and 2005 and perhaps beyond. Some of the victims were ostensibly as young as 14 at the time the alleged crimes occurred. Epstein allegedly “created a vast network of underage victims for him to sexually exploit”and “maintained a steady supply of new victims.”
Epstein was reportedly found nearly unconscious on his cell floor with marks on his neck back in July, but it had never been officially confirmed by authorities whether he had attempted to take his own life, whether he’d been assaulted by another inmate, or whether it was a ploy to change prisons.
Epstein was subsequently placed on suicide watch, but there are numerous reports that when he was found dead Saturday he “was in his cell but was not on suicide watch at the time of his death.”
The Manhattan Correctional Center did not immediately respond to questions from the Washington Examiner about the circumstances of Epstein’s suicide and how it was allowed to happen.
Horowitz has handled high-profile investigations before. Last summer, the watchdog released a 568-page report on Midyear Exam, the DOJ and FBI investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s improper private email server. And the inspector general is expected to release the results of his investigation into allegations of abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the Trump-Russia probe sometime around Labor Day.
Epstein’s apparent suicide followed the unsealing on Friday of 2,000 pages of court records by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit connected to the defamation lawsuit brought by Epstein accuser Virginia Giuffre against British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s on-again-off-again girlfriend and longtime associate whom Giuffre has accused of helping Epstein abuse her and other women when Giuffre was underage. The records included allegations by Giuffre that Maxwell instructed her to have sex with the U.K.’s Prince Andrew, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and former Sen. George Mitchell as well as money manager Glenn Dubin and MIT professor Marvin Minksy, among other high-profile figures.
Before Friday, Epstein’s flight records spanning from 1999 through 2005 had been made public, but new flight manifests ranging from November 1995 through August 2013 were released Friday. The records show Epstein crisscrossed the globe accompanied by tycoons, celebrities, employees, friends, and politicos.
Alex Acosta, the former U.S. attorney for Southern Florida, reached an agreement in 2008 with Epstein’s attorneys in which Epstein was allowed to plead guilty to two state-level prostitution solicitation charges. Epstein served just 13 months of an 18-month stint at a Palm Beach County jail where he was allowed out on work release, paid restitution to certain victims, and registered as a sex offender. The agreement was reportedly struck before investigators had finished interviewing all the alleged victims and was kept secret from some of Epstein’s victims. Acosta left his Cabinet position amid increased scrutiny of the sweetheart deal.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced earlier this week that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement was launching an investigation into the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to look at every aspect of Epstein’s case in Florida. The Justice Department said in February that it had also launched an internal inquiry into the handling of the Epstein case at the federal level, but the status of that investigation is not known.
Epstein was arrested at the airport in Teterboro, New Jersey after returning from an overseas trip to Paris in early July. Epstein’s home in New York City was raided by law enforcement as well, and investigators found nude photographs of underage girls, thousands of dollars in cash, dozens of loose diamonds, and a foreign passport from the 1980s with Epstein’s picture and a false name.
Epstein’s lawyers had argued that Epstein should be allowed out on house arrest, asking the court to let him await trial in his Manhattan mansion. That request was denied. Besides his New York City mansion, Epstein also had an estate in Palm Beach, maintained a ranch in New Mexico, had a luxury apartment in Paris, and owned a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In denying him bail earlier this month, the judge said that Epstein posed a “significant” danger to the community and agreed with prosecutors that he was a serious flight risk.