US financier Jeffrey Epstein has committed suicide in prison while awaiting trial on charges that he trafficked underage girls for sex, forcing an FBI investigation.
Epstein, a convicted pedophile who befriended numerous politicians and celebrities over the years, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center from “an apparent suicide”, the US Department of Justice said.
The statement added that he was discovered around 6:30 am and rushed to hospital in New York where he was pronounced dead.
Many American media agencies quoted officials as saying Epstein hanged himself.
The city medical examiner’s office confirmed Epstein’s death but said nothing about what caused it. It said a medical investigation has been opened.
This comes two weeks after the 66-year-old was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck after an apparent suicide attempt.
Epstein did not appear to be showing any visible signs of injuries when he appeared in court on July 31 following that incident, to be told that his trial wouldn’t begin before June of next year.
He was denied bail last month in a New York court because he was deemed a flight risk.
If convicted, Epstein could face up to 45 years in prison.
Epstein’s death quickly raised questions about how he could take his own life despite reportedly being put on suicide watch after his first failed attempt.
Epstein is friends of President Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton and Britain’s Prince Andrew and was convicted previously for paying young girls for sexual massages at his Palm Beach mansion.
Source : Various