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Murder? Suicide? Mystery Deepens in Probe of Jeffrey Epstein’s Death

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As a litany of details continue to emerge in the enigmatic story of the alleged suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday, it was reported on Tuesday that the warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan (where Epstein had been incarcerated since his July 6th arrest on sex trafficking charges of underage girls) has been temporarily reassigned and two guards tasked with watching Epstein have been placed on leave. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Edited By: JV Staff

As a litany of details continue to emerge in the enigmatic story of the alleged suicide of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein on Saturday, it was reported on Tuesday that the warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan (where Epstein had been incarcerated since his July 6th arrest on sex trafficking charges of underage girls) has been temporarily reassigned and two guards tasked with watching Epstein have been placed on leave, according to Department of Justice officials.

“Today, the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York to the Bureau’s Northeast Regional Office pending the outcome of the FBI and OIG investigations into the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a former MCC inmate,” according to a statement by Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec.

“FCI Otisville Warden James Petrucci has been named Acting Warden of the MCC New York. The Bureau of Prisons also placed on administrative leave two MCC staff assigned to Mr. Epstein’s unit pending the outcome of the investigations. Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant.”

The warden at the MCC facility who has been reassigned is Shirley Skipper-Scott.

US Attorney for the Southern District of NY, Geoffrey Berman, points to a poster of Jeffrey Epstein in the immediate aftermath of his arrest in NYC after arriving on his private plane from Paris. The financier was charged with multiple counts of sex trafficking of underage girls

CBS News reported that on the morning of Epstein’s death there was shouting and shrieking from his jail cell, according to a source familiar with the situation. Corrections officers attempted to revive him while saying “breathe, Epstein, breathe.”

On Monday it was reported that Attorney General William Barr said that his Justice Department has already found “serious irregularities” at the federal prison in which disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein apparently committed suicide.

In interviews, Barr professed to being angered by the knowledge that staff members at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York had “failed to adequately secure this prisoner.”

Though he avoided giving details, Barr did confirm at a conference in New Orleans that investigations by FBI personnel and the Justice Department inspectors general are ongoing. He also made it clear that the investigation into sexual improprieties did not die with Epstein. Anyone who may have played a role, he said, “should not rest easy.”

“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” said Barr. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it.”

“Speaking to law enforcement officials in New Orleans, the country’s top law enforcement official said he “was appalled . . . and, frankly, angry” to learn of the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s “failure to adequately secure ”Epstein,” reported the Washington Post. “Lawmakers also demanded answers from federal officials. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday addressed a letter to acting Bureau of Prisons director Hugh Hurwitz demanding answers to questions about Epstein’s time in federal detention and asserting that Epstein’s death “demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice.”

Not that anyone actually expected the case to end with Epstein’s life.

“Jeffrey Epstein is dead. But the criminal investigation that led to the sex-trafficking charges against him is not,” reported the New York Times. “Federal prosecutors and F.B.I. agents who built the case against Mr. Epstein will turn their attention to people whom his accusers have said participated in a scheme that dates back more than a decade and involved the sexual exploitation of dozens of underage girls. That could include a circle of close associates whom accusers said helped recruit, train and coerce them into catering to Mr. Epstein, a wealthy financier.”

FDNY medics allegedly tried to resuscitate Jeffrey Epstein after he was found in an unconscious state in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan on Saturday morning. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

That same suggestion – that more evidence will be turned up, and accusations made – appeared in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, as well. “The death of Jeffrey Epstein in a federal jail sparked a multipronged investigation into the apparent suicide of the financier accused of sexual abuse and raised the pressure to prosecute his associates in his absence. Mr. Epstein’s death puts the focus on people who allegedly helped him recruit young women for sex trafficking. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan pledged Saturday to continue their investigation, and a growing cache of evidence could lead to other targets.”

NBC News on Tuesday reported that FBI and DOJ investigators who are assigned to the Epstein case are hitting a brick wall in their attempts to interview federal employees who have already retained attorneys,

While Justice Department rules say all employees “have a duty to, and shall, cooperate fully” with the investigation, some employees have been reluctant to cooperate.

According to a CBS News report, Congress is the latest to start investigating Epstein’s death, with reports that one of Epstein’s guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on the night he died was reportedly not a regular corrections officer.

Also on Monday it was reported that government investigators raided Epstein’s private island in the Virgin Islands. This was one of the homes that Epstein owned that he allegedly took underage girls to for sexual encounters.

At this juncture, the focus of investigators is on alleged co-conspirators of Epstein’s such as rumored girlfriend and business associate British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Maxwell is the daughter of British media baron, Robert Maxwell, who once owned the New York Daily News. Ghislaine Maxwell has been accused of taking part in the recruitment of young girls for sex with Epstein. Reports indicate that she lured the girls into the scheme with promises of becoming a professional masseuse for free, as well as cash incentives and other gifts. In addition to Maxwell, three other women are accused of procuring underage sex partners for Epstein. Thus far, Maxwell’s location is unknown and she has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown told CBS News that Maxwell “was more of a partner in his obsession, really.”

CBS News also reported that court documents from 2011 reveal Epstein controlled several apartments in a building just blocks from his $77 million New York townhouse and allegedly housed “underage girls from all over the world.”

On another aspect to this continually unraveling tale of perversion and of using wealth to escape the long arm of the law, CBS reported that Epstein worked as a paid consultant during the 1980s and 1990s at a New York financial company that participated in one of the largest Ponzi schemes in American history, according to court records and the accounts of attorneys and executives connected with the firm, Towers Financial.

Steven J. Hoffenberg, a close friend of Epstein’s, had founded Towers which was a bill collection agency. In 1987, Epstein was hired by Hoffenberg to help commit a billion dollars worth of financial fraud, according to a CBS News report.

“He was my best friend for years. My closest friend for years,” Hoffenberg told CBS News, speaking of Epstein. “We ran a team of people on Wall Street, investment people that raised these billion dollars illegally. He was my guy, my wingman.”

Charges were eventually brought against Hoffenberg for orchestrating the nefarious scheme which operated between 1988 and 1993, according to published reports. It was during this period that Towers raised more than $400 million through the sale of bonds and promissory notes to investors. CBS reported that Hoffenberg and his associates then used the money to cover operating costs, repay earlier investors —and enrich themselves. “I was one of the investors,” said Marvin Gerber in an interview with CBS News. “He swindled me out of $250,000.”

On Monday it was reported that Attorney General William Barr said that his Justice Department has already found “serious irregularities” at the federal prison in which disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein apparently committed suicide. Photo Credit: PBS.org

The well-connected and well-heeled Epstein had friends across the political spectrum. Theories about how he died and who may have had a role – on both sides of the political aisle – began to spread on social media in the mm Both #TrumpBodyCount and #ClintonBodyCount took hold.

VOA reported that in a selfie video posted on Twitter, the comedian Terrence K. Williams tied former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also once friendly with Epstein, with Epstein’s death.

“He had information on the Clintons and the man ended up dead,” Williams said in a video posted to Twitter.

Accompanying the tweet were hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily. Trump retweeted that message to his 63 million followers on Twitter.

Some of the Epstein theories started to “trend,” making top 10 lists of topics people were talking about, according to the VOA report.

Questions are now turning to who will receive the lion’s share of Epstein’s billiions. His brother Mark showed up to identify his body at the morgue in the aftermath of his demise, but no other relatives have been visible on the scene.

Lawyers representing some of Epstein’s alleged victims, such as Lisa Bloom, (the daughter of Gloria Allred) have taken to the airwaves calling for Epstein’s litany of victims to be given the opportunity to collect their recompense from Epstein’s estate since the possibility of seeing their abuser spend the rest of his life behind bars no longer exists.

In an article that focused on what will happen to Epstein’s money now that he is deceased, writer Adam K. Raymond pointed out that, “last month, federal prosecutors said in a court filing that Jeffrey Epstein was worth at least $500 million and brought in more than $10 million in annual income. The accused child-sex trafficker, who was found dead in his Manhattan jail cell Saturday, also owned a $77 million Upper East Side mansion; a private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and homes in Palm Beach, Paris, and New Mexico. What becomes of all that wealth now? Three days after Epstein’s apparent suicide, it’s a question with no clear answer.”

CBS News was just as forthright, explaining that “the line to get that money could be very long. Even before he was charged in the most recent criminal case, Epstein had settled civil lawsuits with women who claim he had abused them, and was facing the prospect of more suits. Two of the lawyers who represent women who allege they were abused as girls by Epstein say they’d been allowing the criminal case to proceed before filing civil suits against Epstein.”

As for the question of how long it will take to unpack and resolve the money situation, CBS was succinct: “Short answer: Years and years. The first step is finding out who is in charge. If Epstein had a will, it would name the executor. If he didn’t, then the job would go to his closest next of kin, his brother, Mark Epstein. But Epstein reportedly abused at least dozens of women, potentially creating a legal bill that is larger than what is in the estate. For that reason, Epstein’s brother could take a pass on administering the money, especially if acting as executor could expose him to any liability, said Bruce Steiner, an estate lawyer in New York City.”

Attempting to accurately assess Epstein’s riches is proving extremely difficult. “Legions of lawyers, bankers and accountants have been trying in recent weeks to solve that mystery,” according to The New York Times, “and their quest is unlikely to end after Mr. Epstein was found dead on Saturday morning. The answers could illuminate how Mr. Epstein allegedly operated a long-running sex-trafficking operation, whether he had help from others and who — including Mr. Epstein’s victims — will receive any of his remaining assets. It is not known if Mr. Epstein had a will.”

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