On Saturday morning, startling news broke that Jeffrey Epstein, the controversial billionaire sex offender accused of sex trafficking, was found dead in his cell late Friday night.
Epstein, who was arrested in July on trafficking charges, had been accused of having essentially served as a pimp to wealthy elites, including prominent politicians across the world, and had previously served time for similar offenses.
Almost unbelievably, Epstein had attempted suicide in custody no more than two weeks prior to his successful attempt, but as news of his death reached the media, it became clear that he was no longer on suicide watch at the time of his demise.
Just one day prior to his death, testimony of 33-year-old Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, was unsealed, revealing her claims to have been prostituted to powerful Democrats.
According to Giuffre, former Democrat Senator George Mitchell, as well as former New Mexico Governor and longtime Clinton associate Bill Richardson were among those she was forced to engage in sexual activity with, at the order of Epstein.
“My whole life revolved around just pleasing these men, and keeping […] Jeffrey happy,” said Giuffre, adding, “Their whole lives revolved around sex.”
Following Epstein’s arrest in early July, speculation ran wild as to whether or not he would cooperate with authorities in revealing the names of the wealthy and politically-connected elites who frequented his services.
Epstein’s close links to figures including Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew have lead to dozens of conspiracy theories regarding his likely assassination, and news of his death prompted an explosion of commentary.
As pundits and social media commenters pondered whether the disgraced billionaire would seek a deal, so too did jokes about his “imminent suicide” begin to circulate, however, on July 24, Epstein was found to have attempted to take his own life.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 10, 2019
Jailed multimillionaire financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein has died by suicide, law enforcement sources say. Epstein was taken to a hospital in cardiac arrest where he died, the sources say https://t.co/c8mDg3psIx
— CNN (@CNN) August 10, 2019
Despite having attempted suicide in late July, by early August, Epstein was apparently no longer on suicide watch, a startling revelation that has prompted bipartisan outrage from politicians, pundits, and virtually the entirety of social media.
As news of Epstein’s death spread, Democrats and Republicans seemingly joined voices in demanding answers from the DOJ, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to bluntly state, “We need answers. Lots of them.”
Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, a colleague and political rival of Ocasio-Cortez, agreed with her assessment of the situation, and urged House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to prioritize an investigation into Epstein’s death.
“What does the word ‘suicide’ mean in the phrase ‘suicide WATCH?’” asked Rudy Giuliani. “Who was watching? Did they fall asleep? Did the camera malfunction? Was there camera surveillance? Who was he about to implicate? This is very questionable.”
“Committing suicide on suicide watch doesn’t happen,” Giuliani added, echoing sentiments coming from across the political spectrum.
Democrat Rep. Al Green noted “The suicide of Mr. Epstein is an impossibility. Because the public has a right to know, I’m calling for a congressional investigation.”
Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican, fired off a letter to US Attorney General William Barr, noting that the entirety of the DOJ “knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him.”
“Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance,” said Sasse, adding, “Obviously, heads must roll.”
In response, Barr said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s demise in federal custody, and stated “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” as news of a pending investigation broke.
Barr acknowledged that, as the FBI conducts its own probe into the unusual death and handling of the Epstein situation, the DOJ would conduct an investigation, as well.
“In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death,” said Barr.
We need answers. Lots of them.https://t.co/4DMckiZnVB
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 10, 2019
I agree @AOC.
Chairman @RepJerryNadler should prioritize a Judiciary investigation into how Jeffrey Epstein died in federal custody (in Nadler’s own neighborhood!) over the Kavanaugh confirmation (which already happened), and the Russia hoax (which never happened).
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) August 10, 2019
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 10, 2019
To further complicate matters, later reports indicated that security footage on the night of Epstein’s death was mysteriously malfunctioning, leading to an increase in speculation as to whether or not the billionaire’s demise was truly at his own hands.
Naturally, the suspicious circumstances surrounding the 66-year-old Epstein’s death have continued to elicit a litany of responses throughout the day, ranging from those who seemingly expected to hear of his demise, to outrage.
Epstein’s close ties to powerful political figures, as well as the damning allegations he faced, have helped create the vortex of rumors regarding his mysterious death.
In coming days Bureau of Prisons will have to reveal how Epstein killed himself. Who authorized him being taken off suicide watch? What did he hang from in a cell that is supposed to be suicide proof? What does camera footage show? https://t.co/bJwQsAKC8h
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) August 10, 2019
Let me get this straight.
– Epstein just happened to be taken off suicide watch before he died.
– The camera “just happened” to malfunction when he died.
– 24 hours previously court documents were unsealed connecting powerful elite to his sex trafficking.
Very suspicious 🤔
— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) August 10, 2019
The apparent suicide of Jeffery Epstein has caused more questions than answers, and reportedly has not sat well with his many alleged victims.
As pundits and commenters across social media continue speculating on the latest developments in Epstein’s saga, as well as its ultimate macabre end, a bipartisan consensus seemingly agrees that something is fishy.
However, for those hoping Epstein would have blown the lid off international sex trafficking rumored to occur within circles of political elites, any information he may have possessed died with him.
For now, pending the outcome of the investigations, one thing remains clear: Epstein’s death will be a topic of speculation, as well as a source of frustration and confusion, for years to come.
New statement about Jeffrey Epstein from Geoffrey S. Berman, Manhattan US Attorney.
Notable portion: “Our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment – which included a conspiracy count – remains ongoing” pic.twitter.com/qB9dFQYVes
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) August 10, 2019