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Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein found 'semi-conscious' in prison cell

The financier is accused of sexually assaulting underage girls.

File photo of Jeffrey Epstein, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry.
File photo of Jeffrey Epstein, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry.
Image: AP/PA Images

US BILLIONAIRE JEFFREY Epstein, who is accused of sexually assaulting underage girls, was found injured in his jail cell after a possible suicide attempt, according to sources cited in multiple media reports.

Epstein was found semi-conscious with marks on his neck, anonymous law enforcement sources told media including NBC New York, the New York Post and TMZ.

The injuries are not believed to be serious, they added in reports last night. 

Guards are also investigating whether he was the victim of a possible assault as they piece together what happened. 

The financier was denied bail last week after appearing at a New York court charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. 

He faces up to 45 years in prison if convicted. 

In the ruling, Judge Richard Berman cited Epstein’s ownership of a private jet, along with a fake Austrian passport and $70,000 in cash found in his house, as evidence that the financier could skip bail.

Epstein’s lawyers had argued that he should be allowed to remain at his home, fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and with his building under police video surveillance.

Prosecutors say Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teenagers at his homes in Manhattan, New York and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005. 

He was next due to appear in court on 31 July. 

Source: CNBC Television/YouTube

US President Donald Trump’s Labour Secretary Alexander Acosta stepped down last week amid the tumult over his handling of a 2008 secret plea deal with Epstein.

Acosta was the US attorney in Miami when he oversaw a 2008 non-prosecution agreement that allowed Epstein to avoid federal trial but plead guilty to state charges and serve 13 months in jail. The deal ended a federal sex abuse investigation involving at least 40 teenage girls that could have landed Epstein behind bars for life.

Trump has acknowledged that he knew Epstein but said he “wasn’t a fan.”

I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” Trump said earlier this month. “He was a fixture in Palm Beach. I had a falling out with him a long time ago. I don’t think I’ve spoken to him for 15 years.”

Video footage unearthed by NBC News shows Donald Trump and wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein chatting at a party at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in 1992.

It shows the future president surrounded by young women, whom NBC identifies as cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills. Later in the video, Epstein arrives at Trump’s Florida estate, and the two men are seen talking and gesturing at the women on the dance floor.

Additional reporting from Associated Press 

© AFP 2019  

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