So many people are still skeptical. When Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the high-security section of the Metropolitan Correctional Center — and later pronounced dead at the hospital — the news shocked people following his case. The final installment of “Epstein: Devil in the Darkness,” episode 12 of the podcast, takes a closer look at the circumstances surrounding his sudden death and what justice can still be done for his alleged victims.
The coroner’s office in New York City ruled that Epstein committed suicide by hanging himself with a sheet from his bed after he was found dead by guards at 6:30 a.m. on August 10. However, many still have a hard time believing the financier took his own life, pointing to the fact that a man who had so recently been on suicide watch should never have had access to anything that could have helped him complete the act.
Attorney Spencer Kuvin, who represented many of Epstein’s victims in the 2008 case, is among those skeptical of his official cause of death. “I’m not convinced yet from what I’ve heard, and from what I’ve seen, and people I’ve spoken with, with knowledge inside that jail, that Mr. Epstein took his own life,” he says. “I had come to that conclusion based upon meeting the man, seeing what kind of person he was, how big his ego was, how confident he was in himself. This was not a depressed man.”
Plus, a former Metropolitan Correctional Center inmate named Richard Stratton fully believes the late businessman was murdered. “After having spent over two years in that institution, then another additional six years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I’ve come to conclude that nothing that happens in that system, in particular with a high profile prisoner like Jeffrey Epstein, happens without the full awareness and complicity of staff,” he says on the episode. “It’s my opinion and based on my experience that Epstein was murdered.”
“The jail cells in MCC don’t look like typical jail cells at all in that they are completely closed,” Stratton continues. “It’s very, very difficult to kill yourself in a cell like that. It’s almost impossible.”
The details of the case are certainly striking. After his death, Epstein’s eyes had hemorrhages, and his neck’s hyoid bone was broken — two symptoms more consistent with strangulation than hanging, podcast host Danielle Robay claims. “The whole excuse that he hung himself or that he had this broken bones in his neck, that comes from strangulation,” former inmate Stratton says. “Somebody went in there with their hands and strangled the guy and killed him.”
Another detail that raises suspicion is the fact that Epstein was previously found with markings on his neck on July 23, and it was deemed an attempted suicide. He was placed on suicide watch then but taken off of it just six days later.
At first, when Epstein was moved to 9 South, he had a cellmate and was told he would be checked on by a guard every 30 minutes. However, on August 9, his cellmate was suddenly transferred out with no explanation, and the financier was left alone all night. “He’s supposed to have a cellmate and they pull that cellmate just one day before his supposed suicide?” Kuvin questions. “It doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t match up.”
In addition, the two security cameras outside Epstein’s cell malfunctioned on the night of his death. “They came out and said there was a video and then they said, there wasn’t a video, and now nobody has heard anything about a video,” Kuvin says. “Where is the video? Where is the surveillance?”
Finally, the two guards who were assigned to check on Epstein every 30 minutes instead left him unsupervised for hours. Both claimed to have fallen asleep, and on November 19, they were charged with “making false records and conspiring to make false records and to defraud the United States” because they created records stating they completed the checks of inmates in Epstein’s unit when those tasks were not actually done.
Epstein’s family also allegedly had a difficult time getting a copy of the autopsy report. “It was extremely unusual that the death certificate was issued before the family got a copy,” reporter Melissa Cronin says. “Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, has actually come out and said that all signs point to murder.”
“When you put it all together, you’ve got to say it looks extremely suspicious, to say the least,” Cronin adds. “Put it together with the fact that Epstein, throughout his life, was incredibly arrogant and he considered himself basically above the law. As someone who has investigated him for years, it’s impossible for me to believe that he would choose to end his life in those circumstances. It is obvious to me that he was murdered.”
Of course, some people close to Epstein are willing to accept the coroner’s judgment. “The simplest, most obvious explanation is that he decided he didn’t want to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Epstein’s former attorney Alan Dershowitz explains on the podcast. “He didn’t think he was going to have a fair shot and decided to take his own life.”
To Dershowitz, the idea of a murder conspiracy is hard to believe. “I think it would’ve been virtually impossible for anybody to get into the prison … alone in the prison, locked door, even with sleeping guards, I think the most likely explanation is the most obvious one: that he tried to kill himself and then ultimately succeeded.”
Prison expert Cameron Lindsay agrees. “The bottom line is he had plenty of time to kill himself,” he claims. “The problem was he was taken off suicide watch, where he was no longer under direct and constant supervision … he was in a special housing unit and was no longer in that health services suicide prevention cell … he has access to T-shirts, towels, sheets, the bed. Everything’s there. All the tools are there for one to extinguish their life.” Lindsay concludes that its simply “not that hard” for someone in prison to end their life if they want to.
“They say it was suicide and whether it was or it wasn’t, you know what karma’s a bitch,” Epstein’s former chauffeur states on the podcast. “My feeling is that he got just what he deserved. It’s just a shame that it happened so soon before these people could get their justice.”
Speaking of justice, what will become of the allegations against Epstein now that he’s gone? “I personally believe that every dime from Jeffrey Epstein’s estate should go to compensate his victims,” Lisa Bloom — another attorney representing some of Epstein’s alleged victims — says. “I know that on behalf of my clients, we are not going to rest until we get full and fair compensation for them for what he did to them.”
“We are doing a massive investigation into all of our clients’ claims and if we feel that there are credible claims that we can prove, we will certainly add others and hold them accountable too,” Bloom says. One of those possible co-conspirators is Ghislaine Maxwell — Epstein’s supposed right-hand woman.
“I hope that Ghislaine Maxwell is ultimately arrested and prosecuted for her crimes,” Kuvin says. Cronin adds, “Where is Ghislaine Maxwell? That’s the question that matters most now … At the very least she knew what he was doing, even though she’s denied it, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest she was as guilty as he was.”
“All we can do is to keep digging, to keep talking about it,” Cronin concludes. “To keep trying to make people listen. The story of Epstein is chilling, but the real story here is a much bigger story of global power, governments, and how we treat women in this world. And that story is the one that is truly terrifying.”
“Epstein: Devil in the Darkness” is produced by the creators of “Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood.” The series was named to Apple Podcasts’ Most Downloaded New Shows of 2018 and received a 2019 Webby Best Series honoree nod from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences.