Ep­stein takes sex ring se­crets to grave af­ter sui­cide in cell

Pae­dophile fi­nancier’s death prompts calls for crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion to con­tinue

The Sunday Telegraph - - Front Page - By Nick Allen in Wash­ing­ton

JEF­FREY EP­STEIN, the dis­graced fi­nancier charged with child sex traf­fick­ing, took his se­crets to the grave af­ter ap­par­ently hang­ing him­self in a prison cell yes­ter­day while await­ing trial.

The FBI launched an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the death as a row erupted over how Ep­stein was al­lowed to cheat jus­tice, with vic­tims ex­press­ing anger at be­ing de­nied their day in court.

Ep­stein’s death meant the full story of the po­ten­tial con­nec­tions of po­lit­i­cal fig­ures and celebri­ties to his al­leged sex ring may never be told.

His lawyers ini­tially re­fused to rule out foul play, fu­el­ing con­spir­acy the­o­ries that Ep­stein’s death will si­lence fur­ther dam­ag­ing rev­e­la­tions.

Ep­stein, 66, died the day af­ter doc­u­ments were re­leased in a civil case in which Vir­ginia Gi­uf­fre, who claimed to have been his teenage “sex slave,” had sued Ghis­laine Maxwell, 57, Ep­stein’s for­mer girl­friend, for defama­tion.

Mrs Gi­uf­fre, now 35, had claimed to have had sex with the Duke of York when she was 17. The Duke has al­ways de­nied the al­le­ga­tions, which were struck from court record in 2015 af­ter be­ing de­scribed as “im­ma­te­rial and im

‘We are hope­ful that the gov­ern­ment will fo­cus on those who fa­cil­i­tated Ep­stein’s sex traf­fick­ing’

per­ti­nent” by the judge.

Ep­stein was found un­re­spon­sive in his cell at the Metropoli­tan Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter in Man­hat­tan at 6.30am yes­ter­day. It was “an ap­par­ent sui­cide”, the US de­part­ment of jus­tice said.

Prison of­fi­cials tried un­suc­cess­fully to re­sus­ci­tate him, and he was taken to New York Pres­by­te­rian-Lower Man­hat­tan Hospi­tal an hour later. He was pro­nounced dead on ar­rival.

Bill Barr, the US at­tor­ney gen­eral, was said to be “livid and ap­palled”. He said the death “raises se­ri­ous ques­tions that must be an­swered”.

Mrs Gi­uf­fre’s lawyer called for in­ves­ti­ga­tions into associates of Ep­stein to con­tinue. Si­grid McCaw­ley said: “We are hope­ful that the gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to in­ves­ti­gate, and will fo­cus on those who par­tic­i­pated and fa­cil­i­tated Ep­stein’s hor­ri­fy­ing sex traf­fick­ing scheme that dam­aged so many.”

Ep­stein had pre­vi­ously been found with bruises on his neck on July 25.

He had been in a shared cell with an in­mate called Nicholas Tartaglion­e, a for­mer po­lice of­fi­cer charged with mur­der, but it was un­clear whether they were still in the same cell.

Ep­stein was in a high se­cu­rity unit, where prison of­fi­cers were sup­posed to check all pris­on­ers ev­ery 30 min­utes, but the pro­ce­dure was re­port­edly not fol­lowed on the night Ep­stein died.

The jail also had the ca­pac­ity to video mon­i­tor a pris­oner con­stantly but it was not clear if that was done.

AS NEWS spread yes­ter­day about the sus­pected sui­cide of Jef­frey Ep­stein, the bil­lion­aire pae­dophile, his vic­tims had no ap­petite for the truth of his sor­did ac­tiv­i­ties to die with him.

Ques­tions quickly be­gan to be asked about what his death in a Man­hat­tan prison cell would mean for them as well as any al­leged ac­com­plices.

His death is ex­pected to bring to an end the long-run­ning in­quiries into the sex-traf­fick­ing ring he had op­er­ated for so long with ap­par­ent im­mu­nity.

US fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors last month charged Ep­stein, 66, with sex traf­fick­ing of girls as young as 14, rais­ing hopes a trial would fi­nally bring jus­tice to women such as Jen­nifer Araoz.

She claimed last month that Ep­stein had raped her at the age of 15, af­ter she was groomed by a woman who had ap­proached her on the ty­coon’s be­half out­side her New York City high school.

Now Ms Araoz says the quest for jus­tice must con­tinue, in­sist­ing that those who she claims aided and abet­ted Ep­stein must be brought to trial.

In a state­ment, Ms Araoz said: “Ep­stein is gone, but jus­tice must still be served. I hope the au­thor­i­ties will pur­sue and prose­cute his ac­com­plices and enablers, and en­sure re­dress for his vic­tims.”

Among those ac­cused in court pa­pers of aid­ing and abet­ting Ep­stein’s sex­ual ex­ploita­tion of un­der-age girls is Ghis­laine Maxwell, the daugh­ter of the dis­graced news­pa­per ty­coon Robert Maxwell. More doc­u­ments are set to be re­leased to­mor­row and there is spec­u­la­tion that gag­ging or­ders signed by Ep­stein em­ploy­ees may now be lifted.

There is grow­ing pres­sure for Ms Maxwell, 57, to an­swer claims in the US that she was at the cen­tre of Ep­stein’s sex traf­fick­ing op­er­a­tion. Ms Maxwell has al­ways de­nied the claims call­ing them “fic­ti­tious lies and sto­ries”.

Pre­vi­ously sealed le­gal doc­u­ments re­leased by a fed­eral court on Fri­day – less than 24 hours be­fore Ep­stein took his own life – out­lined dis­turb­ing al­le­ga­tions that he and Miss Maxwell pro

cured hun­dreds of girls and young women from around the world for sex with them and pow­er­ful lead­ers and politi­cians, in­clud­ing the Duke of York. The Duke cat­e­gor­i­cally denies any sug­ges­tion of im­pro­pri­ety with mi­nors and all the al­le­ga­tions made against him were struck out by the court in 2015. A Florida state sen­a­tor told The Sun

day Tele­graph that Ms Maxwell should “ab­so­lutely” be brought to the US for ques­tion­ing. Demo­crat Lau­ren Book said: “In life and in death, Jef­frey Ep­stein did every­thing he could to es­cape ac­count­abil­ity and si­lence sur­vivors. And he didn’t do it alone. All the money in the world can’t erase the truth. There are still ques­tions to be asked and in­di­vid­u­als to be held ac­count­able.”

Ms Book, her­self a sex­ual as­sault sur­vivor, said she ex­pected more women to come for­ward with ac­cu­sa­tions. Ep­stein’s death is likely to raise ques­tions about what hap­pens to sex traf­fick­ing charges, which he de­nied, and how some­one re­port­edly on sui­cide watch was able to take their own life.

The news has given rise to wide­spread spec­u­la­tion on so­cial me­dia among con­spir­acy the­o­rists point­ing how ap­par­ently con­ve­nient his death might be to those who were ac­cused of op­er­at­ing in tan­dem with Ep­stein.

Le­gal com­men­ta­tors said his death need not stop the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with some point­ing out that po­lice can now search his es­tate and prop­er­ties with­out ap­ply­ing for a search war­rant.

Ep­stein avoided fed­eral crim­i­nal charges in 2008 af­ter pros­e­cu­tors bro­kered a deal that al­lowed him to plea to so­lic­i­ta­tion of pros­ti­tu­tion from a mi­nor and serve 13 months in jail.

Among the most ex­plo­sive claims in wit­ness state­ments and de­po­si­tions form­ing part of the 2,000 pages of court doc­u­ments is that Ms Maxwell pro­cured 17-year-old Vir­ginia Roberts Gi­uf­fre for the Duke of York to have sex with him at her town house in Lon­don, some­thing he cat­e­gor­i­cally de­nied.

In an­other claim in the doc­u­ments it is al­leged that in 2001 the Duke touched the breast of a young woman called Jo­hanna Sjoberg, then 21, while the group was at Ep­stein’s home. A judge de­scribed Ms Gi­uf­fre’s claims about the Duke of York as “im­ma­te­rial and im­per­ti­nent” in 2015.

The ma­te­rial in the doc­u­ments re­leased on Fri­day was gath­ered as part of a defama­tion suit brought by Ms Gi­uf­fre against Ms Maxwell that was set­tled for an undis­closed sum in 2017.

Some of the other prom­i­nent fig­ures Ms Gi­uf­fre claims in the doc­u­ments that she was told to have sex with in­clude Bill Richard­son, 71, the for­mer New Mex­ico gover­nor, for­mer sen­a­tor Ge­orge Mitchell, 85, Tom Pritzker, 69, the Hy­att ho­tels magnate, and Alan Der­showitz, 80, Ep­stein’s lawyer.

All the men named by Ms Gi­uf­fre have is­sued de­nials, with some of them, in­clud­ing Der­showitz, in­sist­ing that they had never met her.

No charges have been filed against any­one other than Ep­stein.

The doc­u­ments al­lege that Ms Maxwell as­sisted Ep­stein in lur­ing young girls from schools, col­leges and spas around Palm Beach County to pro­vide sex­ual ser­vices for him and his guests.

In a sworn state­ment, Ms Maxwell re­fused to an­swer ques­tions about whether she saw Ep­stein with any un­der age girls. She de­nied that she ever had sex with Ms Gi­uf­fre, call­ing her a liar

Un­der ques­tion­ing Ms Maxwell stated: “Again, Vir­ginia is ab­so­lutely to­tally ly­ing. This is a sub­ject of defama­tion about Vir­ginia and the lies she has told.”

Her lawyers did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment and there was no re­sponse at her home in Bel­gravia, cen­tral Lon­don.

The Duke of York has re­peat­edly de­nied Ms Gi­uf­fre’s al­le­ga­tions. A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Any sug­ges­tion of im­pro­pri­ety with un­der­age mi­nors is cat­e­gor­i­cally un­true.”

‘I hope the au­thor­i­ties will prose­cute his ac­com­plices and enablers, and en­sure re­dress for his vic­tims’

Jef­frey Ep­stein, 66, was found dead in his prison cell in a spe­cial high se­cu­rity unit in Man­hat­tan at 6.30am yes­ter­day

Jef­frey Ep­stein, left, in 2000 with Don­ald Trump and his girl­friend (and fu­ture wife) Me­la­nia Knauss, and Bri­tish so­cialite Ghis­laine Maxwell above, Ep­stein with the Duke of York; top right, Jen­nifer Araoz claims Ep­stein raped her when she was just 15; right, pro­test­ers out­side court in New York last month

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