NEWS
14/08/2019 9:02 AM IST

Jeffrey Epstein Case: Everything We Have Learnt Since His Death

One of the people guarding Epstein was not a prison officer, according to reports.

It’s been three days since the death of Jeffrey Epstein. 

His apparent suicide cut short a criminal case that was billed to shed a light on the world of the high-flying financier accused of sex trafficking, who had connections to celebrities, presidents and royalty.

But prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating, while details of how the 66-year-old died in a New York prison cell have raised more questions than answers.

Here’s everything we know so far...

The Prison Guard

On Tuesday morning it was reported one of the guards assigned to the unit housing Epstein was not a prison officer but a “fill in”.

Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148, told The Washington Post that they had been pressed into service because of staffing shortfalls.

Andrew Lichtenstein via Getty Images
The Manhattan Correctional Center where Epstein was being held when he died.

It was not clear what the substitute’s regular job was, but federal prisons facing shortages of fully trained guards have resorted to having other types of support staff fill in for correctional officers, including clerical workers and teachers, reports the Press Association. 

The Suicide Watch 

Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, according to a person familiar with the matter. But he was taken off the watch at the end of July.

New York City’s chief medical examiner has said they are confident Epstein died by hanging himself in the jail cell.

REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
A court sketch of Esptein from a court appearance last month.

The President

Donald Trump’s reaction to the apparent suicide was to retweet a post on Twitter that suggested Bill and Hillary Clinton played a role in the death.

 Democratic presidential contenders Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker slammed the president for promoting the baseless claim from conservative comedian Terrence K Williams.

“This is another example of our president using this position of public trust to attack his political enemies with unfounded conspiracy theories,” O’Rourke, a former congressman from Texas, said on CNN’s State of the Union.

O’Rourke said Trump was trying to shift the public’s focus away from last weekend’s two deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, which have led to new calls for gun restrictions and criticism of Trump’s divisive anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric.

The Princess

Princess Diana has been named in court documents relating to the Epstein case.

Epstein’s former handyman claimed the financier met with “Princess Diana’s secretary with her children”. There is no indication she met Epstein herself.

Diana’s former secretary, Patrick Jephson, told The Sun: “I can’t think of any occasion when Mr Epstein would have any claim to say he had given hospitality to the Princess of Wales.

“To my knowledge Princess Diana only ever went to Florida once and that was to Disney World (in 1993).”

The Probe

US federal investigators have launched a probe into Epstein’s death which raises questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of such high-profile inmates.

In October, Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.

Attorney General William Barr, calling for an investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death while in federal custody.

“Mr Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said in a statement.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in a scathing letter to Barr that “heads must roll” after the incident.

“Every single person in the Justice Department – from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer – knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” Sasse wrote.

The Raid

Epstein’s death has not put a stop to the investigation into his life and on Tuesday US federal agents raided Epstein’s private island.

The lavish property in the US Virgin Islands was sometimes referred to as “Orgy Island” or the “Island of Sin” due the the parties held there.

The Victims 

Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein plan to file lawsuits this week against his estate following his apparent suicide in a New York jail cell.

Los Angeles attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents two women, told Reuters “we intend to promptly file those civil claims” having held off suing while federal prosecutors pursued sex trafficking charges against Epstein.

New York lawyer Roberta Kaplan said she hopes to file on Wednesday on behalf of a client to take advantage of a new New York State law which makes it possible to pursue decades-old claims of abuse.

The “Child Victims Act,” which takes effect on August 14, gives people a year to sue over allegations of sexual abuse, regardless of when the alleged acts occurred.

Kaplan will sue on behalf of a woman described in the indictment against Epstein as a minor victim.

The unidentified woman was recruited to engage in sex acts with Epstein around 2002 and paid hundreds of dollars for each encounter with the financier, according to the indictment.

She was 14 when it happened, Kaplan said.

The Prince 

On the same day Epstein died, unsealed court documents revealed Prince Andrew was accused of touching the breast of a young woman at Epstein’s home.

The allegation surfaced in a cache of legal papers unsealed by a US judge in a defamation case involving a British socialite alleged to have supplied Epstein with underage girls.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Prince Andrew, the Duke of York leaves Crathie Kirk, after a Sunday morning church service last weekend.

Virginia Giuffre, an alleged victim of Epstein who also claimed she was forced into a sexual encounter with Andrew, sued Ghislaine Maxwell, youngest daughter of the late media mogul Robert Maxwell, in 2015.

In the legal documents, released on Friday, Johanna Sjoberg, another alleged Epstein victim, said Andrew touched her breast while sitting on a couch inside the billionaire’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

Buckingham Palace said the allegations are “categorically untrue”.