Three of Jeffrey Epstein’s attorneys are not buying the New York City Medical Examiner’s ruling that the sex offender committed suicide August 10.
“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner. We will have a more complete response in the coming days,” the lawyers said in a joint statement Friday evening after the chief medical examiner ruled out foul play earlier in the day. The three had hired a private pathologist to observe the autopsy.
It is “indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocols,” their statement read. Lawyers Martin G. Weinberg, Reid Weingarten, and Michael Miller said they would conduct their own investigation, and will seek court help, as necessary, to get access to available “pivotal” MCC video of areas from around Epstein’s cell.
A week ago, guards found Epstein at about 6:30 a.m. in his cell. It appeared that he had tied a bed sheet to his neck and to an upper bunk. The autopsy found that he had leaned or fallen forward with enough force to have broken several bones in his neck, though many experts have said those broken bones would normally indicate a greater chance of homicidal strangulation than a self-inflicted injury.
Epstein’s death “is the subject of four federal investigations, including by the Justice Department’s inspector general and the F.B.I.,” according to The New York Times.
Lack of MCC staff cooperation
An anonymous official with the Department of Justice told the Associated Press that several individuals, including jail staff members believed to have pertinent information to the investigation, are not cooperating. The official indicated they have not yet been interviewed by the FBI, but that their lack of cooperation is a problem as investigators try to determine the full picture surrounding Epstein’s suicide.
According to that DOJ official, the FBI has been delayed and rebuffed to this point by union representatives when agents have sought to conduct interviews with some staff members.
In another related development, lawyer Bruce Barkett, representing Epstein’s former cellmate, said his client was cleared of wrongdoing in an incident several weeks ago in which Epstein was found with bruises around his neck. Barkett said his client “obviously is a witness” to what occurred in July. He stated that investigators notified him by email that his client would face no charges relating to the July episode.
Epstein was placed on the prison’s 24-hour suicide watch program in a special cell where there was no bed linen or other items that would enable a person to hang himself. That lasted only six days before he was returned to a unit in the jail where he was to have been in a cell with another inmate and was supposed to have been observed every half hour by patrolling guards.
Epstein’s cellmate was inexplicably removed from his cell the day before his death and the two guards on duty during the night that were responsible for watching him were apparently asleep for at least three hours during which Epstein died.
The long list of the financier’s known victims grew longer on Thursday, as two more women came forward and filed suit in a New York federal court, seeking $100 million in damages for sexually abusing them and groping them after Epstein recruited them to provide massages. They were 18 and 20 at the time of their alleged abuse, and they cite ongoing repercussions to include depression, anxiety, anger, flashbacks, and nightmares.
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