Jeffery Epstein, the mysterious billionaire who once hosted presidents and movie stars at his private island resort, died in his jail cell Saturday morning, many news outlets report. He was 66 years old.
“He was found in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center Saturday morning, according to the officials, who was briefed on the matter but spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly,” the Associated Press said.
Epstein was in the jail facility awaiting trial after being denied bail.
“On July 24, Epstein was rushed to hospital under police guard after he was discovered semi-conscious on the floor of his prison cell in the fetal position,” the Daily Mail reported.
After treatment, he was returned to the Manhattan Correctional Center. However, The New York Times reports a prison official said that Epstein “was housed in a special unit with extra security, but he was not under suicide watch.”
The correctional center told Daily Mail that the FBI is now launching an investigation into Epstein’s death, which came on the heels of a previous, alleged suicide attempt.
Attorney General William Barr issued a statement saying that the Inspector General’s office will open a special inquiry.
“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. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
After his latest arrest in July, new controversy erupted surrounding an extraordinarily favorable deal involving similar charges of sex trafficking that federal prosecutors made with him. The agreement allowed Epstein to serve a 13 month prison sentence effectively on the weekends. The arrangement, crafted in part by former Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resulted in Acosta’s resignation from the Trump administration.