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IN 2019, Barbara Sampson, the New York City's Chief Medical Examiner, ruled that Jeffrey Epstein's death was a suicide by hanging.

New York City’s medical examiner ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide Friday, confirming after nearly a week of speculation that the financier faced with sex trafficking charges hanged himself in his jail cell.

This view is controversial, with many conjecturing that he was murdered to silence him, including Reid Weingarten (Epstein's defense attorney) and Ghislaine Maxwell to name a few.

Was Jeffrey Epstein's death a suicide?

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  • In discussing suicide, please follow our guidelines, especially about word choice.
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 6, 2023 at 2:59
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    This question is being re-opened as it is no longer a "current event". Use caution when answering; Your personal opinions are not of interest. Pure anomaly hunting won't be sufficient. Arguments from personal incredulity will not be sufficient.
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 6, 2023 at 3:08
  • Related meta-question
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 6, 2023 at 3:12
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    See meta for a complaint about how a deleted answer was handled.
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 26, 2023 at 5:57
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    I don't appreciate the edit adding "Donald Trump" to the question. There are hundreds of pubic figures making that claim. Mentioning his name is a distraction will polarize many answers to "Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide" simply because that loudmouth Donald Trump said the contrary. Jul 20, 2023 at 1:43

2 Answers 2

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Yes, Epstein killed himself.

The NYC medical examiner ruled it a suicide: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/16/nyregion/jeffrey-epstein-autopsy-results.html

Attorney general William Barr called it a "perfect storm of screw-ups" after being initially suspicious that it might have been a murder: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/22/nyregion/william-barr-jeffrey-epstein-suicide-investigation.html

DoJ and FBI investigation into Epstein's death resulted in 2 prison guards being indicted for falsifying records - basically that they said they checked on Epstein regularly while instead they took naps and shopped online: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/19/nyregion/epstein-prison-guards-arrested.html

Probably the best source of what happened is the indictment of Michael Thomas and Tova Noel, the prison guards on duty the night Epstein died. Here are select parts:

Guards didn't complete required counts and checks No one else entered the area Epstein is found dead

The full indictment can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/press-release/file/1218466/download

Allegedly there is a video of the night in question showing no one entered the unit, but I've not been able to find that yet. Hopefully, it will be released at some point.

To summarize: Epstein was put in a single cell, the guards stayed outside of the unit, and, allegedly, video footage shows nobody entered the tier where Epstein was housed. Then at 6:30 am the guards entered the tier, found Epstein dead with a noose around his neck, and triggered the alarm at 6:33 am.

Given the evidence as it's known now, this is clearly a suicide.

Edit: The prison guards have admitted to falsifying records and were sentenced to probation. The charges against them were ultimately dismissed

Tova Noel and Michael Thomas admitted that they “willfully and knowingly” lied on forms stating that they’d made the required rounds checking on inmates the night of Epstein’s August 2019 suicide

https://nypost.com/2021/05/21/epstein-guards-admit-to-falsifying-records-will-skirt-jail-time/

A Manhattan judge has ordered charges dropped against the two prison guards who admitted to falsifying records after Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide in jail more than two years ago.

The guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, copped prosecution deals in May that required them to admit their guilt, with the understanding that the charges against them would be dismissed if they followed the rules of their agreement for six months.

The pair also had to carry out 100 hours of community service as part of the deal.

https://nypost.com/2022/01/04/judge-drops-charges-against-jeffrey-epsteins-prison-guards/

Update - June 2023:

DOJ office of inspector general just published a report concluding that Epstein death was indeed a suicide:

No Evidence Contradicting the FBI’s Determination that there Was No Criminality Associated with Epstein’s Death. Separate from the OIG’s investigation, which focused on the conduct of BOP personnel, the FBI concurrently investigated whether Epstein’s death was the result of criminal conduct by any non-BOP actors. Among other things, the FBI investigated the cause of Epstein’s death and determined it was not the result of a criminal act. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, City of New York, determined that Epstein died by suicide. While the OIG determined MCC New York staff engaged in significant misconduct and dereliction of their duties, we did not uncover evidence contradicting the FBI’s determination regarding the absence of criminality in connection with Epstein’s death.

Source: https://oig.justice.gov/news/doj-oig-releases-report-bops-custody-care-and-supervision-jeffrey-epstein-metropolitan

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    > Given the evidence as it's known now, this is clearly a suicide. Ok, what evidence? A coroner's report is not evidence it's hearsay. There is no evidence presented in this post. at all. Every piece of information is orthogonal to this, and not directly related to answering the question.
    – tuskiomi
    Feb 6, 2023 at 17:37
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    @tuskiomi Hearsay would be the coroner saying that she heard someone else say that it was a suicide (for reasons XYZ). This is the official conclusion by an expert on the issue who has first-hand information (since she herself did the autopsy).
    – tim
    Feb 6, 2023 at 18:32
  • @tuskiomi: before continuing this line of abrasive and utterly uninformed comments, I suggest you read more on the topic. According to the CDC "In the United States, a coroner or medical examiner usually determines whether a death is a suicide and records that decision on the death certificate." It does note that laws vary by US state though, so NY law in particular does matter here, and in NY the coroner and medical examiner have different roles (and different appointment routes) but ultimately the coroner decides ... except in those NY counties in which the job has been abolished (only ME). Feb 6, 2023 at 18:48
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    Yes, Epstein killed himself. This conclusion relies on the assumption that the OCME cannot be wrong. This may be the conclusion which is best pointed to by the available facts, but I'm not sure we can assert it unequivocally
    – Cruncher
    Feb 24, 2023 at 14:18
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    @Cruncher The evidence seems to suggest that. I won't re-iterate my whole answer but it's not just the autopsy. Could it all be wrong? Sure, that possibility exists. However, I've not seen any evidence of that. Suspicion alone is just not enough.
    – ventsyv
    Feb 24, 2023 at 15:02
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Regarding the guards Noel and Thomas, the federal/criminal case against them was ultimately dropped in early 2022, after they took a deferred prosecution agreement (in 2021), in which they agreed to truthfully testify as to the circumstances of Epstein's death (and did some community service). According to Reuters:

Noel and Thomas were accused of falling asleep and surfing the internet that night rather than checking on Epstein every 30 minutes, and they acknowledged having falsified records to make it seem they were monitoring Epstein properly.

From earlier coverage of the deal:

[Judge] Torres, during Tuesday’s roughly 15-minute hearing, asked the guards if they understood they were admitting they “willfully and knowingly” submitted false documents about the night Epstein died.

“Yes, your honor,” they both replied.

Torres then told the guards, “This offers you a chance to avoid a criminal conviction.”

So essentially that leaves Epstein's brother Mark and his attorneys (plus their own medical expert[s]) as contesting the cause of death. Now one could argue they did a good job in the court of public opinion, at least back in 2020 (see "60 Minutes" coverage, which IMHO was rather undly weighted in their favor, at least in terms of length) but unless they win some [civil] case in which Epstein's cause of death is at stake, legally speaking the medical examiner's findings remain unimpeached.

FWTW, the video mentioned in the other answer apparently no longer exist as such:

Video footage of the area around Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell on a day he survived an apparent suicide attempt “no longer exists,” federal prosecutors told a judge Thursday.

Officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York believed they had preserved footage of guards finding Jeffrey Epstein after he appeared to have attempted suicide, but actually saved a video from a different part of the jail, prosecutors said.

The FBI also has determined that the footage does not exist on the jail’s backup video system “as a result of technical errors,” Assistant U.S. Attys. Maurene Comey and Jason Swergold wrote in a court filing.

OTOH before the video vanished, AG Barr said he has personally [re]viewed it...

The attorney general also sought to dampen conspiracy theories by people who have questioned whether Epstein really took his own life, saying the evidence proves Epstein killed himself. He added that he personally reviewed security footage that confirmed that no one entered the area where Epstein was housed on the night he died.

And apparently he repeated that in a later book/memoirs.

'I personally reviewed that video footage. It shows conclusively that between the time Epstein was locked in his cell at 7:49 p.m. on the night of August 9 and the time he was discovered the next morning at 6:30 a.m., no one entered his tier,' he wrote in the book, One Damn Thing After Another.

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  • I'd like to see this answer stand alone more with some context (what guards? what is your conclusion? How is Mark Epstein relevant?)
    – Oddthinking
    Feb 8, 2023 at 3:52
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    There are some inaccuracies: 1. The guards had to admit to falsifying records, and were given probation and community service. 2. The video that was deleted was from his 1st suicide attempt. The video I was referring to in from the night of his 2nd (and ultimately successful) suicide attempt.
    – ventsyv
    Feb 9, 2023 at 17:37

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