Jeffrey Epstein: Suicide or Homicide?


Ben Eskenazi

FROM RISE TO FALL: Jeffrey Epstein in the 1980s was beginning his ascent to the status of hedge fund star and reclusive investment mogul.

Devin Tykodi, Copy Editor

Jeffrey Epstein was an American financier with an estimated net worth of approximately two billion dollars. Despite his tremendous wealth, he began as a school teacher at the prestigious Dalton school in Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was only after he was fired for poor performance that he tried his hand in investment banking. While he initially started as a low-level junior assistant, his knack for finding opportunity and his shrewd business skills quickly moved him up the personal financing hierarchy. One of Epstein’s most famous clients, Leslie Wexner, chairman of L brands and Victoria’s Secret, granted him full power of attorney over his affairs. It is widely speculated that his partnership with Wexner is the origin of his wealth. Epstein embodied the spirit of the American dream since he overcame his humble beginnings in Manhattan, New York, en route to becoming one of the most influential financiers in the world.

Unfortunately, accompanying his vast wealth was deplorable sexual predation. According to Yahoo news, his first criminal offense was in 2008 when Epstein “pleaded guilty in Florida state court to soliciting a person under 18 for prostitution. He was required to serve 13 months in jail, although he served much of the time in work release at his office in Palm Beach. He was required to register as a sex offender.” Many perceived Epstein’s sentence as disgustingly lenient since he was deemed a ‘person of high importance’ to the U.S. government. According to Buzzfeed one of Epstein’s victims, Michelle Licata says that his Florida sentence demonstrated that “he was not held accountable [for his actions].” This past July, Epstein was once again arrested and charged for a new federal indictment that alleged he had “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes.” The indictment specifically charged Epstein with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking of minors. He faced a maximum 45-year prison sentence if convicted. According to court records filed in Manhattan Federal Court, some of the alleged victims were as young as 14 at the time of the alleged abuse. Epstein’s second indictment unraveled his world.  He was not given bail due to the discovery of a fake-passport and stacks of cash at his residence. On July 23, 2019, while held in maximum security prison, Epstein was discovered unconscious in his jail cell with injuries to his neck. He was then placed on suicide watch. On Aug. 10, 2019, he was found dead in his new cell. The New York medical examiner assigned to his death declared it a suicide. However, junior Luke Darragh vehemently says that “Epstein did not kill himself.  All the evidence suggests otherwise. The night of his death, his cellmate was transferred out, [and] later that night, in violation of the jail’s procedure he was not checked on every 30 minutes by prison guards, records were falsified, and the two cameras in front of Epstein’s jail cell conveniently malfunctioned that night. It has every indication of foul play.” Darragh’s opinion that Epstein’s death was a homicide rather than a suicide is supported by independent pathologist Michael Baden. Baden says that the bone Epstein broke in his neck is very rare to occur due to a hanging and hints that his death was most likely a homicide. Baden’s determination coupled with the unusual circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death have sparked public outcry for further investigation. Senior Patrizio Fichera says that “the months following [Epstein’s] death when [he] goes on social media, [he] repeatedly sees posts and comments about how Jeffrey Epstein supposedly did not kill himself.” Fichera’s observation highlights that the ubiquity of the discussion surrounding Epstein’s ‘suicide’ stems from its bizarre circumstances. The calamity of errors leading up to his death has certainly not gone unnoticed by skeptical minds.

One of the most prominent conspiracy theories explaining Epstein’s death is that he was killed in prison to avoid exposing other famous individuals for sexual misconduct in nationally televised court proceedings. Freshman Riya Agarwal says that individuals such as “Prince Andrew, Bill Clinton, and President Donald Trump have been linked to Epstein. There is even a photo circulating online of a man that appears to be Prince Andrew at his residence located on the U.S. Virgin Islands.” In recent weeks, the scrutiny of the Prince Andrew has grown more rampant as Virginia Roberts claims that she was coerced into lewd acts with the Duke of York. Regardless of whether Roberts’s claim is truthful or not, it undeniably leaves a stain on the reputation of the British Royal family who aim to uphold the highest degree of morality. Regarding Prince Andrew’s allegations sophomore Joseph Tseng says, “Epstein’s trial had the potential to bring down some of the mightiest men in the world. It would not surprise me by any means if his death was staged.” Tseng reiterates the notion that Epstein’s upcoming trial had the potential to shake the landscape of the nation by revealing the involvement of esteemed individual’s involvement in his sex crimes.

The veil of mystery that shrouds Epstein’s connection to high-ranking individuals and his death has surrounded him throughout his financial career. The extent of his wealth is often questioned since he lost a boatload of money in the 2008 financial crisis and Wexner deserted him when he pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in 2008. In addition, it is unclear why he was given such a lenient sentence in Florida and if he ever served as an intelligence agent for the U.S. government.  It is only fitting that his death encapsulated his character by occurring in puzzling fashion. The legacy of Epstein will rightfully be tied to his heinous sex crimes but his influence transcends beyond the courtroom from Buckingham Palace to perhaps even the White House.