Millionaire financier and accused sex trafficker Jefferey Epstein was found dead in his federal jail cell in downtown Manhattan on Saturday morning. Reports indicate he committed suicide by hanging, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
He was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges based on incidents that took place between 2002 and 2005 over several different locations, including his private island in the Bahamas. Epstein, 66, had pleaded not guilty and was facing up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Never Trumpers had so many hopes riding on the court testimony of Epstein. They had hoped he would name President Donald Trump as one of the people who was also engaged in child sexual exploitation.
The media has gone to great lengths to associate Trump with the convicted felon, who frequented his Mar-a-Lago Club in West Palm Beach 15 years ago and socialized with him. Trump said a disagreement ended their friendship.
The shock of his suicide is reverberating throughout Washington and around the country. Another window of opportunity to get Trump has closed, but that has not stopped the spinmeisters who are now gathering in their respective camps to craft new narratives to continue their attacks on the president.
Did Epstein take his life because hundreds of pages of court documents unsealed Friday in New York federal court shed new light on sexual abuse claims against him and several prominent men in politics, royalty and academia? Contrary to some media reports the documents cleared Trump of any involvement in sex trafficking.
They were related to a 2015 defamation case based on allegations made by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who testified that Epstein kept her as a teenage “sex slave.” She accused a British woman, Ghislaine Maxwell, of grooming girls for Epstein to exploit.
Giuffre denied that Trump was engaged in any sexual contact with girls alongside Epstein. In a transcript of a video deposition she gave in 2016, she disputed parts of a 2011 story written by Daily Mail reporter Sharon Churcher who quoted her as saying: “Donald Trump was also a good friend of Jeffrey’s. He didn’t partake in sex with any of us but he flirted with me. He’d laugh and tell Jeffrey, ‘You’ve got the life.'”
Giuffre testified: “it’s true that he didn’t partake in any sex with us, (but) it’s not true that he flirted with me. Donald Trump never flirted with me.” Her description of Trump as a “good friend” was based on conversations with Epstein.
Giuffre denied ever seeing Trump at Epstein’s homes in the US Virgin Islands, New Mexico or New York. When asked if she ever saw them together she said, “No, not that I can actually remember.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last month suggested that Trump preyed on and exploited underage girls. She reviewed a 2010 deposition regarding a lawsuit accusing Epstein of child trafficking in which Epstein declined to answer a question about his relationship with Trump and whether they had ever socialized together with females under the age of 18. In response Epstein asserted his Fifth, Sixth, 23rd and 14th Amendment rights.
According to Maddow: “There is a general sense that the blood pressure in the White House has been running higher than normal since Epstein was arrested, and it is not possible to know if this is just the new crazy, this is just newly how it is, or if it’s a deliberate effort to try to distract from something, right? Could this be the president hitting the panic button to distract from something else that is coming down the pike?”
As reports of his suicide hit the media, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted: “A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives ends up dead in his jail cell. How predictably…Russian.”
David J. Rothkopf, professor of international relations, political scientist and journalist also tweeted:
“The myriad ties of Epstein not just to Trump but to the administration are boggling–to Trump, Mar a Lago, his family, Acosta, Barr, Trump defender Dershowitz, etc. It may all be coincidence but it does seem (they) many crawled out of or at least dipped into the Epstein cesspool.”
Attorney General William Barr said he was “appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead” while in federal custody. His department will be conducting an investigation to determine how this could have happened in conjunction with the inspector general.
Trump’s political enemies are already blaming him and Barr for Epstein’s death. Former Democratic congressional candidate Pam Keith on Saturday tweeted: “The right is going to think the left is responsible for Epstein’s death and vice versa. But simple fact is the left did NOT have physical control of Epstein’s person. Bill Barr did. FACT! Pure and simple. FACT! And no one had more to lose from Epstein talking than 45. NO ONE!” The never ending cycle of finger pointing has already begun.