Jeffrey Epstein death anger soars; conspiracy theories swirl

New York, August 12

Outrage and intrigue over the apparent suicide in prison of well-connected accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein soared Sunday as US lawmakers pushed for answers, including whether “criminal acts” played a role in his death.

Epstein, a convicted paedophile who hobnobbed with countless politicians and celebrities over the years, was found dead in his cell on Saturday while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked underage girls for sex.

The discovery came a day after a court released documents in which one of Epstein’s alleged victims claimed she was forced to have sex with well-known American political and business personalities. They have all denied the allegations.

Epstein’s death in a high-security New York jail, an apparent suicide that came just weeks after an earlier possible attempt on his own life, meant he should have been under close watch and has fueled anger and a conspiracy theory frenzy.

“These survivors deserved a day in court. They deserved justice,” Democratic Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said Sunday.

“It is a shame that he committed suicide,” she told CBS’s “Face the Nation.” New York’s chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson said Sunday that an autopsy had been completed, but the determination of cause of death was “pending further information at this time.” The procedure was observed by an outside pathologist at the request of Epstein’s representatives, she added. — AFP