Conspiracy Theories, Murder Mysteries

The murder of Jeffrey Epstein

Jeffrey Epstein died in jail on 10th August 2019 and took a mountain of secrets with him. His associations with the likes of Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton and Harvey Weinstein have led a lot of people to wonder if his secrets might be to do with them. And that one or more of them was responsible for having him bumped off…

In 2018, American financier, socialite and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein revealed to New York Times journalist James B. Stewart that he had dirt on powerful people. This dirt included “potentially damaging or embarrassing” details on their sexual proclivities and use of recreational drugs. He had proof, too, to back it all up.

When police searched his Palm Beach mansion in 2006, hidden cameras were found in several of the rooms. According to a friend of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s close companion, Epstein and Maxwell were secretly videotaping prominent people “as an insurance policy”. Years later, the FBI’s discovery of photos and videos of underage girls with unspecified male abusers at one of Epstein’s properties is what led to his arrest for conspiracy to traffic minors for sex in 2019.

We already know that Epstein and Prince Andrew were long-time friends. Epstein was known to have attended parties with Bill Clinton, Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein, too. And Donald Trump said of Epstein in a 2002 New York magazine article:

I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.

One thing’s for certain. When Epstein kicked the bucket in 2019, a lot of powerful people breathed an enormous sigh of relief. The question is, were any of those powerful people involved in his death?

Ugly plea deals, new charges and a nicely timed ‘suicide’

The plea deal that led to Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 conviction was highly controversial. The deal shut down a major FBI probe into the extent of Epstein’s crimes, which uncovered evidence that Epstein had abused dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14. It granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” involved in Epstein’s crimes, accomplices that were not named. It was also kept from the victims until it had been approved by the judge, despite a federal law to the contrary.

In the end, Epstein faced justice on only two counts, serving a meagre 13 months in prison when he could well have ended up there for the rest of his life.

Well, there’s nothing fishy about that, is there? It’s not a huge stretch of the imagination to believe that these unknown “potential co-conspirators” might have had an interest in securing this deal.

Epstein was arrested again many years later, on 6th July 2019, for the sex trafficking of minors. He was remanded in custody and, on 23rd July, found injured in his cell with marks around his neck. Correctional staff suspected that he had attempted suicide and put him on suicide watch, although Epstein denied it and said he remembered nothing. Other sources said that Epstein may have staged his injuries to secure a transfer to another facility, or that he may have been assaulted by his cellmate (his cellmate denied it).

Following a psychiatric evaluation, Epstein was pulled off suicide watch. On 10th August, he was found dead in his cell, having apparently hanged himself. On August 29th, the judge dismissed all sex trafficking charges owing to Epstein’s death, and the criminal case was closed.

Epstein’s knowledge of the illicit activities of high-profile individuals—coupled with questions over his cause of death and the actions of prison staff—have provoked many to speculate that Epstein was murdered. Probably on the orders of one or more of the powerful people he had dirt on.

Like Prince Andrew, who we know continued his friendship with Epstein even after Epstein’s 2008 conviction for child sex trafficking. Among the many civil lawsuits against Epstein and Maxwell pending at the time of his death were those filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre. She claimed to have been trafficked for sex with various people, including Prince Andrew. The prince exposed himself as dodgy as hell in a shambolic Newsnight interview in November 2019 in which he infamously denied having sex with Giuffre. In fact, he said he had no recollection of ever meeting her. This is despite flight logs putting them at the places where she alleges the sex happened, and, even more damning, a photograph of Prince Andrew and Giuffre together, his hand around her waist and Ghislaine Maxwell standing in the background. The prince’s friends have alleged that the photo is fake, but no proof has yet been provided that it is.

Doesn’t remember meeting her? Prince Andrew with his arm around Virginia Roberts Giuffre

We also know that on September 3rd, an anonymous man urged a New York judge to keep a bunch of documents in the Giuffre lawsuit sealed and secret, concerned that “unproven allegations of impropriety” could damage his reputation. Could this have been Epstein’s killer?

Not just rampant speculation

Believing that Epstein didn’t kill himself is not as wild and baseless as some conspiracy theories out there. Sure, there’s no evidence that Prince Andrew or anyone else in particular gave the order, but the circumstances of his death are very suspect.

The noose found in Epstein’s cell after his alleged suicide

On the night he died, Epstein was supposed to have a cellmate and was supposed to have been checked on by a guard every 30 minutes. These procedures weren’t followed. His cellmate was transferred on 9th August and no replacement was brought in. The two guards assigned to check his cell overnight fell asleep at their desk. These two guards later falsified records and were charged by federal prosecutors in November 2019. Their trials are still pending.

Two cameras in front of Epstein’s cell were said to have malfunctioned on the night that he died, while another camera had footage that was “unusable”. Convenient. Even more suspiciously, we may never know the truth of the July 23rd incident either, as the surveillance footage from outside Epstein’s cell disappeared and was later found to have been permanently deleted due to a “clerical error”.

So, literally every camera that could objectively tell us what was going on in Epstein’s cell on 23rd July and 10th August wasn’t working. Funny, that. Sounds a lot like another suspicious conspiracy theory-laden death where none of the cameras that could’ve revealed the truth were switched on or functioning properly.

There’s also the fact that the guards who found Epstein—in a kneeling position with a bedsheet tied around his neck and attached to the top of his bunk—removed his body from the cell and didn’t take any photos. Both of these actions were violations of protocol.

And then there’s the autopsy. Although Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson, who conducted the autopsy, deemed it a suicide by hanging, pathologist Michael Baden, who observed the autopsy, vehemently disagrees. Baden said that the three fractures in Epstein’s neck were more consistent with homicidal strangulation than with hanging. He said, in particular, that the way Epstein’s hyoid bone was broken indicated strangulation from behind. When Sampson refuted his claims, Baden argued that no one in over a thousand jail hangings in New York state prisons over the previous 40-50 years had three fractures.

While other doctors have argued that the fractures could’ve been due to his age, Baden said that Epstein had haemorrhages in his eyes, which are much more common in strangulations than hangings. There was also a lack of lividity in his legs, suggesting that he didn’t die upright.

And that’s not to mention his other injuries—contusions on both his wrists, an abrasion on his left forearm and deep muscle haemorrhaging in his left shoulder. It’s still unclear when and how these injuries happened (although Epstein’s brother, Mark, is convinced that Epstein was handcuffed and there was a struggle).

Epstein’s cause of death was changed from “pending further study” on the day of the autopsy to “suicide by hanging” five days later. Baden has said that normally it would take weeks or months to determine a cause of death that needed further investigation. Clearly the Medical Examiner’s office decided they had enough additional information to complete their investigation in five days—so what was it?

Even if you agree with the Medical Examiner’s office and not with Baden, there are a lot of questions here, and a lot of things that don’t add up. If Epstein did attempt suicide on 23rd July, why was he taken off suicide watch? Why was he left in a situation where he could do it again? Why wasn’t he being watched properly? Why wasn’t he given another cellmate? What on earth went wrong with all the cameras? And what caused all those other injuries to his body?

It’s really no surprise that the phrase “Epstein didn’t kill himself” has became a popular meme, showing up on beer cans and Christmas jumpers and in televised sports games and celebrity interviews. And a 2020 poll revealed that only 21% of Americans believe that Epstein’s death was a suicide.

I guess it’s because, unlike many conspiracy theories we’ve heard about in recent months, this one just might be true.

Next month: the author who predicted the sinking of the Titanic

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