Epstein dies by apparent suicide in jail

Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced wealthy financier indicted on sex trafficking charges, died overnight by an apparent suicide in his Manhattan jail cell, federal officials said Saturday.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons said in a statement obtained by The Hill that Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive around 6:30 a.m. in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan.

Emergency responders transported Epstein to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead, federal authorities said. The Justice Department called the incident an "apparent suicide" and said the FBI would investigate.

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The financier had reportedly been placed on suicide watch in late July, when he was found unconscious in his jail cell with injuries to his neck. Multiple reports emerged Saturday revealing he was not under suicide watch at the time of his death.

Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrAttorney General Barr's license to kill Medical examiner confirms Epstein death by suicide Justice Dept. says Mueller report has been downloaded 800 million times MORE said in a statement that he was "appalled" by Epstein's death in federal custody, saying the incident would be investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general.

"Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr said.

Authorities at the MCC did not immediately return a request for comment from The Hill on Saturday.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented a number of Epstein's accusers, told NBC News in a statement that his death robbed his alleged victims of their chance for justice.

"On behalf of the victims I represent, we would have preferred he [Jeffrey Epstein] lived to face justice. Our civil cases can still proceed against his estate. Victims deserve to be made whole for the lifelong damage he caused. We’re just getting started," she tweeted

Epstein, who was arrested early last month, was in jail awaiting trial on allegations that he trafficked dozens of minors for sex. He previously accepted a plea deal in 2008 over similar accusations that landed him on the sex offender registry.

The financier had various business relationships with high-profile individuals, and had connections to at least two U.S. presidents, Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPossible GOP challenger says Trump doesn't doesn't deserve reelection, but would vote for him over Democrat O'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms MORE and Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe magic of majority rule in elections The return of Ken Starr Assault weapons ban picks up steam in Congress MORE, though both have denied any wrongdoing during their meetings with Epstein.

The case against Epstein has been active for years. Court documents made public Friday revealed that a woman testified in 2016 that Epstein had sent her, while she was underage, to perform sexual acts with former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) and former Sen. George Mitchell (D-Maine), allegations the two men deny.

Virginia Giuffre testified in 2016 she was also sent to have sex with asset manager Glenn Dubin, modeling executive Jean Luc Brunel and the late MIT scientist Marvin Minsky, expanding on past claims that she was used as a “sex slave” for Epstein from 2000 to 2002.

None of the men named in the documents released Friday have been charged.

Epstein served 13 months in jail about 10 years ago after reaching the deal with prosecutors that has been denounced widely as being too lenient. He was arrested in July and charged with trafficking underage girls from 2002 to 2005. 

Some congressional Democrats have called for Congress to continue investigating allegations against Epstein and the 2008 plea deal he received. 

A woman who accused Epstein of of raping her when she was 15 said Saturday that officials must continue pursuing his associates in an alleged sex-trafficking ring following reports of his apparent suicide in a Manhattan jail.

Jennifer Araoz told CNN in a statement that Epstein's suicide made her "angry," as he will no longer have to face his accusers in court, and said federal authorities must continue to pursue those who may have aided Epstein in his alleged activities.

Updated at 2:05 p.m.