Epstein’s injuries could suggest ‘homicide’

 

Lawyers acting for multi-millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein have made the sensational claim his injuries indicate he could have been murdered.

The disgraced financier died on August 10 in a New York jail where he was being held on sex trafficking charges.

A coroner later ruled he died by suicide - but now his lawyers have claimed injuries found on his neck were more consistent with homicide than suicide.

The 66-year-old's death was discussed by both prosecutors and Epstein's lawyers during a US District Court hearing yesterday, with one defence lawyer expressing his scepticism over the suicide ruling.

Instead, lawyer Reid Weingarten told Judge Richard Berman the injuries - outlined by the defence's own medical sources - were "far more consistent with assault" than suicide, CNBC reports.

Earlier this month, two sources "familiar with the findings" told the Washington Post an autopsy found Epstein suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones.

One of the broken bones was the hyoid bone, located near the Adam's apple in males, which was "more common in victims of homicide by strangulation".

Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers have voiced their scepticism over the suicide ruling. Picture: New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP
Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers have voiced their scepticism over the suicide ruling. Picture: New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP

Mr Weingarten also told the court Epstein's behaviour shortly before his death did not indicate his mental health was declining.

" … we did not see a despairing, despondent, suicidal person," he said, before asking the judge for an independent inquiry into his client's mysterious death.

Martin Weinberg, a second Epstein lawyer, said Judge Berman had a "pivotal role to find out what happened".

"We want the court to help us find out what happened," Mr Weingarten said.

He said the team was "sceptical of the certitude" of suicide and there were "significant doubts" about "the conclusion of suicide", according to CNBC.

"I think it's fair game for defence counsel to raise its concerns," Judge Berman said in response to the claims.

On July 23, Epstein was found semiconscious in his cell, and he was placed on suicide watch as a result.

Lawyer Gloria Allred is representing several of Epstein’s alleged victims. Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo
Lawyer Gloria Allred is representing several of Epstein’s alleged victims. Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

However, he was taken off suicide watch later that month, and it was later revealed Metropolitan Correctional Centre prison guards on duty at the time of Epstein's death had failed to check on him for "several hours", even though prison protocol demanded inmates be checked every 30 minutes.

According to an explosive New York Times expose, two correctional officers had been sleeping on the job and later falsified records to cover up their fatal mistake.

And a different source told the Washington PostEpstein was also left alone in his cell without a fellow inmate - another breach of normal procedure - despite being on suicide watch just days earlier.

The lingering questions over his death and the repeated breaches of prison protocol sparked rampant speculation, with Mr Weingarten acknowledging "there are conspiracy theories galore".

He said surveillance cameras outside Epstein's cell were apparently "either corrupted or not functioning" at the time and slammed the "dreadful" conditions inside the prison.

Mr Weinberg also described them as "horrific" and "medieval".

According to the Washington Post, Epstein's lawyers also claimed their team's medical expert suggested he may have been dead for 45 minutes before his body was found, therefore "raising questions about efforts to resuscitate him".

At the time of his death, Epstein was facing a potential prison sentence of up to 45 years on sex trafficking charges.

In a statement earlier this month, Epstein's lawyers said the team "fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr Epstein's death".

The homicide comments came during a proceeding in which more than a dozen of Epstein's accusers delivered emotional testimonies, outlining the extent of the alleged abuse and the impact it has had on their lives.

They included Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who married an Australian man and now lives in Cairns in Queensland, who has previously described herself as a former "sex slave" of Epstein and his alleged "madam" Ghislaine Maxwell.

Donald Trump and wife Melania with Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in 2000. Picture: Davidoff Studios/Getty Images
Donald Trump and wife Melania with Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell at the Mar-a-Lago club in 2000. Picture: Davidoff Studios/Getty Images

"I am a victim of Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell and the dark and cruel criminal acts they committed against me … for years and years and years unstopped," she said.

"I was recruited at a very young age from Mar-a-Lago and entrapped in a world that I didn't understand, and I've been fighting that very world to this day, and I won't stop fighting - I will never be silenced until these people are brought to justice."

The 35-year-old also claims she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in London, New York and the Caribbean when she was just 17 - a claim that has been strongly denied by the Duke of York.