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Officials: Jeffrey Epstein, accused sex trafficker, dies

ABC News logo ABC News 8/10/2019

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Jeffrey Epstein, the disgraced millionaire who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died by suicide early Saturday in his Lower Manhattan prison cell, three law enforcement officials told ABC News.

Epstein hanged himself, law enforcement sources said. He was transported in cardiac arrest at 6:39 a.m. from Metropolitan Correctional Center to New York Downtown Hospital, according to sources.

Epstein, 66, was set to stand trial next year for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of minor girls in New York and Florida.

His death came less than three weeks after he was found unresponsive in his cell at the federal prison in Lower Manhattan, with marks on his neck that appeared to be self-inflicted, sources told ABC News.

He had been on suicide watch since the July 23 incident.

Epstein was arrested on July 6 for alleged sex trafficking of minor girls at his Upper East Side mansion and his home in Palm Beach, Florida. Some of the charges date back to the early 2000s.

Epstein, 66, pleaded not guilty to the charges. He faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

a painting of a man: Financier Jeffrey Epstein looks on near Judge Richard Berman during a status hearing in his sex trafficking case, in this court sketch in New York, July 31, 2019 © Jane Rosenburg/Reuters Financier Jeffrey Epstein looks on near Judge Richard Berman during a status hearing in his sex trafficking case, in this court sketch in New York, July 31, 2019

His alleged crimes were thrown back into the spotlight amid renewed scrutiny of the plea deal Epstein reached with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami in 2007, led by then-U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta. A non-prosecution agreement allowed Epstein, a hedge-fund manager, to plead guilty to two state charges and avoid federal charges for an allegedly broad pattern of similar sexual misconduct. He would serve just 13 months of an 18-month sentence in county jail in Florida.

The victims in that case were not made aware of the negotiations for nearly a year after the agreement was signed, according to their attorney.

The deal is currently under review by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Acosta was serving as President Trump's Labor Secretary amid the controversy over his role in the deal. He later resigned from that position.

‘If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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