A medical examiner has ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death as suicide by hanging.
The 66-year-old financier died after being found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday morning. He was then transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Epstein – who was convicted on federal prostitution charges in 2008 – was arrested July 6 on charges of sex trafficking underage girls and conspiracy to commit sex trafficking.
In the wake of his death, questions have been raised about practices at the Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center where Epstein was being held.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on his cell floor on July 23.
But many people familiar with operations at the jail say he was taken off the watch after about a week and put back in a high-security housing unit where he was less closely monitored, but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.
Attorney general William Barr says officials have uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are both investigating Epstein’s death.
Jail guards on duty the night of Epstein’s death are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to several people familiar with the matter.
A guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime, the people said.
According to The New York Times , the two prison guards assigned to watch him on the night he died fell asleep during their shift and failed to check on the accused sex trafficker for about three hours.
The medical examiner’s ruling came a day after two more women sued Epstein’s estate, saying he sexually abused them.
The suit, filed Thursday in a federal court in New York, claims the women were working as hostesses at a popular Manhattan restaurant in 2004 when they were recruited to give Epstein massages.
One was 18 at the time. The other was 20.
The lawsuit says an unidentified female recruiter offered the hostesses hundreds of dollars to provide massages to Epstein, saying he “liked young, pretty girls to massage him”, and would not engage in any unwanted touching. The women say Epstein groped them anyway.
One plaintiff now lives in Japan, the other in the US. They seek 100 million dollars in damages, citing depression, anxiety, anger and flashbacks.
Other lawsuits, filed over many years by other women, accused him of hiring girls as young as 14 or 15 to give him massages, then subjecting them to sex acts.
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