New York City’s medical examiner office has performed an autopsy of the body of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, but a determination on the official cause of death is “pending further information at this time.”
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson made the revelation in an Aug. 11 statement, in which she said that at the request of those “representing” the financier—who was found dead in his cell from an “apparent suicide”—and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor, she allowed well-known pathologist Dr. Michael Baden “to observe the autopsy examination.”
It’s unclear which of Epstein’s representatives had hired Baden, and why Sampson needed more information to make a determination.
A source who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record told Reuters that Epstein was apparently found “hanging by his neck.”
Sampson didn’t provide a timeline on when the official determination would come out. She also said that a pathologist observing the case was “routine practice.” It remains unclear where Epstein’s body is currently located.
“Today, a medical examiner performed the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein,” she said in the statement. “The ME’s determination is pending further information at this time. … My office defers to the involved law enforcement agencies regarding other investigations around this death.”
Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his jail cell in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which operates the lower Manhattan jail.
In July, Epstein was reportedly found injured and semi-conscious in his prison cell, with marks on his neck. It remains unknown whether the incident was a suicide attempt or an assault by another inmate.
According to CBS News, Epstein was put on suicide watch after the reported injuries “as a precautionary measure.”
Epstein was apparently taken off suicide watch in late July at the request of his attorneys, unidentified sources told The Wall Street Journal. The financier had been meeting with his lawyers for up to 12 hours a day, one of those sources told the newspaper.
Baden, who was New York’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s, has been called as an expert witness in a number of high-profile cases, according to The Associated Press. According to his official biography, Baden is also a Fox News contributor who joined the network in 2003, and has served as the chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police.
Previously, Baden was the chairman of the House Select Committee on Assassinations Forensic Pathology Panel that investigated the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
According to his biography, Baden has been called to “investigate many high profile deaths and has testified as an expert witness in numerous court cases.”
Baden was also hired by O.J. Simpson’s lawyers to “critique the autopsies of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman” in his murder trial. Baden reportedly recommended that the former NFL star be placed on suicide watch.
Baden has also testified in the murder trial of record producer Phil Spector. He was also requested by the family of Michael Brown to conduct a separate, independent autopsy after he was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
In addition, he conducted an independent autopsy on former NFL New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez.
On Aug. 12, federal agents, including FBI and Customs and Border Protection agents, were seen at the dock and grounds of Epstein’s private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, ABC News reported.
Prosecutors believe the home on the island of Little Saint James was Epstein’s “primary residence” in the United States.
In an Aug. 10 statement, Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said the criminal investigation into sex trafficking and conspiracy accusations against Epstein “remains ongoing.”