Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was moved to a suicide-watch unit in a New York City detention center after the financier facing sex-trafficking charges was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck. Epstein is being held pending trial at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. He faces two counts related to alleged sex trafficking of minors. Epstein has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking minors, after his arrest in July 6. The charges allege that he lured young girls to homes in Manhattan and Florida between 2002 and 2005 for purposes of trafficking. If convicted, he faces 45 years in prison.
Sources say when Epstein was found he was on the floor of his cell in a fetal position in a semi-conscious state, with marks on his neck. Some believe Epstein may have tried to hang himself but some say Epstein’s injuries were not serious, and raised the possibility that he may have used the incident to try obtain a transfer from the jail.
On July 18, a federal judge rejected bail and Epstein’s request to be placed under house arrest in his Manhattan home, instead ordering him to be detained. The judge calling him a danger to the community and a considerable flight risk. Days earlier, prosecutors said a search of his home turned up a phony passport and about $70,000 in cash. Judge Richard Berman also noted the fact that Epstein had in recent months made large payments to potential witnesses against him, and the discovery by FBI agents of a trove of lewd photographs of young women at his Manhattan townhouse.
“This newly discovered evidence also suggests that Mr. Epstein poses ‘ongoing and forward-looking danger,’” the judge wrote. “Mr. Epstein’s dangerousness is considerable and includes sex crimes with minor girls and tampering with potential witnesses.” Prosecutors say he sexually abused dozens of underage girls from 2002 through 2005 at his New York City townhouse and Palm Beach, Florida, who visited him under the guise of giving him massages. Some of the girls were as young as 14 years old.
In 2008, Epstein was charged with molesting and trafficking dozens—and potentially hundreds—of underage girls in Florida. He ended up serving just 13 months in county jail in what’s been described as “one of the most lenient deals for a serial child sex offender in history.” The investigation into that case started in March 2005 when a woman contacted Florida’s Palm Beach Police Department and alleged that her 14-year-old stepdaughter had been taken to Epstein’s mansion by an older girl. There she was allegedly paid $300 to strip and massage Epstein. She had allegedly undressed, but left the encounter wearing her underwear. Police began an 11-month undercover investigation of Epstein, followed by a search of his home. Police alleged that Epstein had paid several girls to perform sexual acts with him. Items found in Epstein’s trash and home allegedly showed that some of the girls involved were under 18 and a police search of Epstein’s home found two hidden cameras and large numbers of photos of underage girls throughout the house, some of whom the police had interviewed in the course of their investigation. The lawsuit filed in 2006 that Epstein installed concealed cameras in numerous places on his property to record sexual activity with underage girls by prominent people for criminal purposes, such as blackmail. Epstein allegedly “lent” girls to powerful people to ingratiate himself with them and also to gain possible blackmail information. A former employee told the police that Epstein would receive “massages” from young girls three times a day.