Jeffrey Epstein's Lawyers Reject Coroner's Ruling of 'Suicide'
Independent investigation launched after official conclusion that he hanged himself
Lawyers for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein say they reject the coroner's official ruling that their client committed suicide by hanging himself while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges, according to reports.
Reid Weingarten, Martin G. Weinberg, and Michael Miller released a statement blasting the Metropolitan Correctional Center's "medieval conditions," asserting that "no one should die in jail."
In a statement obtained by the New York Times, Epstein's lawyers argue that "his safety was the responsibility of the MCC.
"It is indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocol."
The legal team later added: "We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner.
"We will have a more complete response in the coming days."
The attorneys revealed they have hired a private pathologist to assist with the investigation.
The medical examiner's office announced Friday that an autopsy and other evidence confirmed the 66-year-old hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan last week.
According to the Daily Mail, the billionaire pedophile, who was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges involving underage girls, hanged himself with a bedsheet from the top set of bunks, according to officials.
He was found with several broken bones in his neck, including the thyroid bone, when guards were doing their morning rounds last Saturday.
Revelations of the broken bones in his neck lead to speculation that his death was a homicide and conspiracy theories continue to swirl almost a week after his body was found.
His death prompted outrage and disbelief over how such a high-profile prisoner, known for socializing with powerful people, including former President Bill Clinton and Britain's Prince Andrew, could have been left without surveillance at the federal facility.
#PrinceAndrew has fled to Spain on a private jet with his live-in ex-wife Sarah Ferguson, as the heat continues to rise in the child sex trafficking case against his recently-deceased friend #JeffreyEpstein.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) August 15, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/LcP3rEokNo
Epstein, who was charged with sexually abusing numerous underage girls over several years, had been placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on his cell floor on July 23 with bruising on his neck.
Multiple sources have said Epstein was taken off the watch after a week and put back in a high-security housing unit where he was less closely monitored but still supposedly checked every 30 minutes.
Attorney General William Barr says officials have uncovered "serious irregularities" at the federal jail following Epstein's death.
The FBI and the Justice Department are both investigating.
Jail guards on duty the night of he died are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required.
A guard in Epstein's unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime, sources said.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, who is in charge of the criminal case against Epstein, asked the jail's warden this week for answers about the earlier episode, writing in a letter Monday that it had 'never been definitively explained'.
The warden replied that an internal investigation was completed but that he couldn't provide information because the findings were being incorporated into investigations into Epstein's death.
Accused child sex trafficker #JeffreyEpstein had a $100k concrete truck rushed to his private island, aka "#PedophileIsland," shortly before an exposé went public that led to his arrest, according to reports.— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) August 16, 2019
READ MORE: https://t.co/KmX7pAALAI
There was speculation following Epstein's initial attempt that he had been trying to get away from his prior cellmate - former NYPD officer Nicholas Tartaglione - who is accused of killing four men over a drug deal gone wrong.
Tartaglione, who was questioned over the incident, said that he instead saved Epstein's life after finding him unconscious in their cell and calling for help.
He was moved out of the cell he shared with Epstein while the billionaire was on suicide watch.
His lawyer told NBC that Tartaglione had been cleared of any wrongdoing just a few days before the medical examiner released the autopsy findings.
'We've always maintained Nick did nothing wrong and that's clearly been borne out here by the jail itself,' attorney Bruce Barket said.
Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
He was already a registered sex offender after pleading guilty in 2008 to Florida state charges of unlawfully paying a teenage girl for sex.
Prior to his conviction, he had counted the rich and powerful, including Trump, Clinton, director Woody Allen and Saudi leader Mohammad bin Salman, among his associates.
Clinton and Trump both said they hadn't seen Epstein in years and knew nothing of his misconduct when new charges were brought against him last month.
The medical examiner's ruling came a day after two more women sued Jeffrey Epstein's estate, saying he sexually abused them.
The suit, filed Thursday in a federal court in New York, claims the women were working as hostesses at a popular Manhattan restaurant in 2004 when they were recruited to give Epstein massages.
One was 18 at the time. The other was 20.
The lawsuit says an unidentified female recruiter offered the hostesses hundreds of dollars to provide massages to Epstein, saying he "liked young, pretty girls to massage him," and wouldn't engage in any unwanted touching.
The women say Epstein groped them anyway.
One plaintiff now lives in Japan, the other in Baltimore.
They seek $100 million in damages, citing depression, anxiety, anger, and flashbacks.
Other lawsuits, filed over many years by other women, accused him of hiring girls as young as 14 or 15 to give him massages, then subjecting them to sex acts.
Jennifer Araoz was among the first to file a lawsuit following Epstein's death.
Araoz officially filed the lawsuit on Wednesday when New York's new Child Victims Act came into effect, which opens a one-year window for people to file lawsuits over alleged sexual abuse regardless of how long ago it occurred.
In addition to Epstein's estate, Araoz is also suing Epstein's ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and three female members of his household staff.
Araoz alleges in the complaint that Maxwell, who is accused of overseeing the recruitment of young girls for Epstein, and the three staffers conspired with each other to facilitate her rape.