Jeffrey Epstein, the New York financier accused of molesting dozens of underage girls, died early Saturday morning inside his Manhattan jail cell. He was 66.
In the beginning of July, prosecutors alleged that Epstein, a convicted sex offender, abused and trafficked dozens of girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. They said both he and his associates paid victims to recruit other girls to give him nude massages and engage in sex acts, allowing him to build a vast network in which he was able to abuse minors, according to the indictment.
The multi-millionaire was being held without bail pending trial on child-sex-trafficking charges.
He was found in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City around 6:30 a.m. He was transported to the New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital and was dead on arrival, officials said.
Law enforcement sources told Fox News that the initial call to the jail was cardiac arrest. Multiple reports claimed that he hanged himself.
“This is the end of one chapter, but only one chapter, of the battle to bring the sex traffickers to justice," said David Boies, who represents at least eight of the alleged victims in the case. "Jeffrey Epstein did not act, and could not have done what he did, alone. Justice demands that those who acted with him also be held to account.”
The incident comes two weeks after Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.
It also follows a mass document dump. On Friday, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York unsealed more than 2,000 documents, in which Virginia Roberts Guiffre — who accused Epstein and his associate, Ghislane Maxwell, of keeping her as a "sex slave" when she was underage — said Epstein forced her to have sex with powerful men, including former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Prince Andrew. A spokesperson for Richardson denied the accusation in a statement to Fox News.
In a May 2016 deposition, Giuffre alleged that she was trafficked and forced to provide erotic massages to powerful politicians, foreign leaders and businessmen.
Her attorney, Brad Edwards, reacted to Epstein's apparent suicide on Saturday, telling Fox News it was "unfortunate and predictable."
"The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled in both unfortunate and predictable," he said in a statement. "While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for."
He continued: "The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused. It is never too late to come forward with information. We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice."
Epstein had pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Epstein's arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious
Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by the Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.
But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper. They said he hasn't had any illicit contact with girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that he was "appalled" to learn about Epstein's death, which is being investigated by the FBI.
"Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered," he said. "In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death."
High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who presents some of Epstein's accusers, tweeted Saturday that his death means a "consciousness of guilt."
"He was charged with only two counts. But he knew. He knew he was guilty, and all of his money would not prevent the inevitable conviction. He knew justice was coming and he could not face it", she wrote.
Fox News' Bryan Llenas and Lucia I. Suarez Sang contributed to this report.