Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers say they are “not satisfied” with the autopsy results from the New York City Medical Examiner’s office. The office concluded on Aug. 16 that the accused sex trafficker died by suicide.
The official ruling was made six days after Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell at the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a brief statement that the conclusion was reached, in part, “after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings.”
Sampson ruled that Epstein’s cause of death was by “hanging” and the manner was “suicide.” Her statement came after a Justice Department official told The Associated Press that some prison staffers believed to have relevant information aren’t cooperating with investigators.
Three lawyers for the now-deceased financier challenged the findings of the medical examiner’s office and said they would conduct their own investigation. In a previous Aug. 11 statement, Sampson said the autopsy results would be delayed, after a determination on the official cause of death was “pending further information.”
“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” the lawyers said in a statement. “We will have a more complete response in the coming days.”
Epstein’s representatives hired well-known private pathologist Dr. Michael Baden “to observe the autopsy examination.”
“The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death, including, if necessary, legal action to view the pivotal videos, if they exist as they should, of the area proximate to Mr. Epstein’s cell during the time period leading to his death,” the lawyers said.
Just one day before Epstein died, almost 2,000 pages of documents relating to him were unsealed on Aug. 9, revealing allegations against a number of rich and powerful men.
The court documents, from a lawsuit by one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, listed new names allegedly involved in Epstein’s trafficking ring and more information on the role played by his former girlfriend, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell.
When Epstein was found dead, the Bureau of Prisons said in a statement at the time that it was from an “apparent suicide.”
Epstein’s jail guards failed to follow protocol and check on him every 30 minutes, and are also suspected to have falsified log entries to indicate that they did check on him, unnamed sources told AP. Both guards were working overtime during that period, due to staffing shortages, with one guard reportedly working a fifth straight day of overtime.
“His [Epstein’s] safety was the responsibility of the MCC,” Epstein’s lawyers said in the statement. “It is indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocols.” The lawyers also said Epstein was imprisoned in “medieval conditions” at the center.
According to court documents, Epstein sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his mansions in New York City and in Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations. Federal prosecutors have said that their criminal investigation into sex trafficking and conspiracy accusations against Epstein “remains ongoing.”