On Saturday, 66-year-old financier Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Centre after apparently committing suicide and was pronounced dead, according to the Manhattan US attorney's statement.
The death of the multi-millionaire, who was arrested in early July and charged with sex trafficking minors, came on the heels of the release of newly unsealed court documents which threatened to cast a shadow on Epstein's top-ranking acquaintances, starting with former President Bill Clinton and ending with Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.
The incident prompted much speculation and questions as to whether or not the 66-year old was on suicide watch after being found on the floor of his prison cell with injuries to his neck on 23 July.
Attorney General William Barr highlighted that Epstein's alleged suicide "raises serious questions that must be answered," citing "serious irregularities" at the jail where the paedophile was held.
Another question, triggered by the multi-millionaire's death is whether the Epstein case will "die" with him.
The SDNY can charge Jeffrey Epstein's co-conspirators - Ghislaine Maxwell, etc.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) 10 августа 2019 г.
This leaves a big question moving forward:
Does the DOJ let the case die with Epstein?
According to Wall Street Journal analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, the sex trafficking scandal is far from being over, and new exposures may shed light on the strange circumstances surrounding both Epstein's life and death.
Sputnik: AG William Barr announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding Jeffrey Epstein's alleged suicide. Why does Epstein's death prompt suspicions, in your opinion?
Charles Ortel: From what we already know, Epstein was accorded substantial deference by the FBI (under Robert Mueller), and the Department of Justice (under George W. Bush), and Florida officials in the handling of the first allegations that surfaced around 2004 - 2005. Why did it take so long to prosecute Epstein? Why did he get such a lenient sentence? Why was he let off early (under Barack Obama)? And, how did he manage to re-engage in the "highest" levels of society after having become a Level III sex offender?
The list of unanswered and logical questions about the Epstein case grows hourly. With the latest developments in the Epstein case, reporters will inevitably discover many deeply troubling cross-currents of deplorable and depraved criminality outside and inside governments around the world
Sputnik: What's your take on the timing of Epstein's alleged suicide given that it came on the heels of the partial release of a 2,000-page document containing sex abuse allegations against high-profile figures?
Charles Ortel: I find it odd that Epstein may have died so quickly following the release of some highly-charged documents, potentially further implicating Bill Clinton, at the very least of choosing donors to Clinton "charities" poorly.
But, I also find the circumstance of Epstein's arrest odd – did it truly happen by chance upon his return from Europe in July 2019 or was it part of the negotiation? For how long have government authorities been investigating Epstein? There are numerous records, and these will be studied closely.
Let's not rush to hasty conclusions or accept any pronouncements that are unsupported by convincing, verified evidence.
Sputnik: Will the millionaire's death spell the end of Epstein's sex trafficking case in a US court? Will the US release the full 2,000-page document regardless of the paedophile's death? Will there be further proceedings related to the sex trafficking case?
Charles Ortel: I am not a lawyer, but my understanding is that any criminal case against Epstein personally ended with his death, once this is verified. Any co-conspirators in sex-trafficking, money laundering, charity fraud, or related matters remain vulnerable to criminal prosecutions that likely are already in progress. Moreover, civil complaints against the Epstein estate are certain to pile up.
In addition to the 2,000 pages, that you reference, that I believe will all come out, and readers should look carefully through a link [concerning the Epstein case and] available at the FBI vault file.
As we consider revelations about Epstein, we must also take care to examine how this information ties into unanswered questions about his involvement with Bill Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative.
The two obvious answers are (1) charges against his co-conspirators – Ghislaine Maxwell, et al, and (2) investigation of Epstein’s finances.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) 12 августа 2019 г.
Epstein was charged with conspiracy and SDNY makes note of the continued conspiracy investigation. pic.twitter.com/MHp6gqr25E
Sputnik: Epstein's British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell is reported to be involved in his illegal activities. Could she become the next target of the US Justice Department? Could she evade scrutiny being a British citizen?
Charles Ortel: The true story of Jeffrey Epstein's life cannot be told without explaining his connections to Ghislaine Maxwell, and to her father, Robert Maxwell who also died under mysterious circumstances.
Here, it is crucially important to map out a detailed chronology of their interaction personally, in business, and with regard to multiple charities (the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, COUQ Foundation, and the TerraMar Project, to name just several).
I suspect that Ghislaine Maxwell is already a target of investigators and doubt that she will successfully persuade the Boris Johnson-led UK government to shield her from prosecution. Jeffrey Epstein's criminal activities, centrally involving Ghislaine Maxwell, also violate UK laws. Particularly now, the UK needs support from the Trump Administration as the British exit the European Union.
“They’re Nothing, These Girls”: Unraveling the Mystery of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s Enabler https://t.co/jO8dSV3NAk— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) 13 августа 2019 г.
Sputnik: What major oddities in the Epstein case could you outline?
Charles Ortel: The Epstein case screams out from many levels. Epstein's life story, as currently known, makes little sense.
During the Vietnam War, when there was a draft of 18-year-olds and up, Epstein failed to complete his undergraduate studies at two successive colleges. During these first two years he was not as vulnerable to being drafted, but where was he from June 1971 through September 1974?
How did Epstein land a teaching job at Dalton, one of New York City's most prestigious private schools, without having an undergraduate degree in 1974? What did he tell Dalton about his background and how much checking did Dalton do before hiring him? What, exactly, were his responsibilities?
After Dalton, Epstein landed a job at Bear Stearns where he worked from 1976 through 1981. This period was a challenging one on Wall Street – Jimmy Carter almost tanked the American economy, inflation was raging, and the Soviet Union seemed to be advancing in flashpoints worldwide. By the time Epstein was forced to leave Bear Stearns for reasons that have yet to be fully explained, the American economy had not yet begun to rebound under President Reagan, so how did Epstein manage to leave with much of a nest egg? Investment bankers were much less highly paid through 1981, income tax rates were much higher, and Epstein lived in New York City, which then had expensive living costs. Moreover, he had no family money.
Thereafter, Epstein fell in with a succession of highly questionable people (Hoffenberg, Kashoggi, Ghislaine Maxwell) and ultimately with Les Wexner, a billionaire with extensive interests in retailing and real estate. Why did Wexner transfer his 727 jet and his New York mansion to Epstein? Why did Wexner rely so heavily on the "financial advice" of a person with such a checkered record? Did no one along the way do the kind of checking that is commonplace concerning a person's background?
The views and opinions expressed by the speaker and contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.