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Jeffrey Epstein kills himself ahead of sex trafficking trial - reports

MSN 2019-08-10 15:49:00

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein has killed himself in prison ahead of facing trial on sex trafficking charges, according to US media.

The 66-year-old, who was being held without bail in a Manhattan jail, was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida.

Epstein, who denied the charges, was found at 7.30am on Saturday morning according to officials, who spoke to NBC. They said he had hanged himself.

Last month, he had reportedly been found unconscious with neck injuries on the floor of his cell. His lawyers declined to comment at the time.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution-related charges involving underage girls, in exchange for the Justice Department's agreement not to prosecute him on similar charges.

He served 13 months in jail and agreed to register as a sex offender under the 2008 plea deal, which is now widely seen as too lenient.

His lawyers had argued the agreement barred federal prosecutors in Manhattan from pursuing the latest case over the same conduct.

However, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said there was no such block.

Epstein had also been appealing Mr Berman's denial of his request to remain under house arrest in his $77m (£64m) mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side while awaiting trial.

His death comes as court papers were unsealed in which a woman claimed Prince Andrew had touched her breast at Epstein's Manhattan mansion.

Buckingham Palace said claims made by Johanna Sjoberg against Prince Andrew, a former friend of Epstein, were categorically untrue.

Epstein also had links with Donald Trump. Video of them together at a party in 1992 emerged in June, and they were pictured together five years later too.

There is no suggestion that there was any criminal wrongdoing taking place at the party and Mr Trump now claims he never liked Epstein.