Jeffrey Epstein commits suicide by hanging himself in his Manhattan jail cell

The financier, 66, was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted on federal charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14

Jeffrey Epstein (Credit: Daily Beast | Getty)
Jeffrey Epstein (Credit: Daily Beast | Getty)

Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier charged with sexually abusing girls, committed suicide in his jail cell in Manhattan.

Epstein, 66, hanged himself and was found dead at approximately 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

Last month, the accused sex trafficker had been found unconscious in his Manhattan jail cell with marks on his neck, an incident that prison officials were investigating as a possible attempt to commit suicide.

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Whether prison officials had placed Epstein on a suicide watch was unclear early Saturday.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan last month indicted Epstein on charges of trafficking girls as young as 14 for sex. The indictment highlights the powerful people with whom Epstein associated over the years, including Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew of Britain, Donald J. Trump and retailing billionaire Leslie Wexner.

In 2008, Epstein avoided federal criminal charges under a widely disparaged deal that allowed him to plead guilty to solicitation of prostitution from a minor and serve a 13-month sentence under terms that allowed him to leave jail six days a week for 12 hours a day to work in his Florida office.

Epstein pleaded not guilty to new charges that he engaged in sex trafficking girls, bringing them to his waterfront home in Palm Beach and his Upper East Side mansion in New York City between 2002 and 2005. If convicted, Epstein would have faced as many as 45 years in prison. [New York Times]Mike Seemuth