The official story that it was a suicide was initially disseminated by much of the mainstream media-including the New York Post, whose first report Saturday morning began, "Convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein died overnight in an apparent suicide, federal officials said".
For example, days after his arrest online memes and Facebook statuses wrongly claimed the Obama administration, in order to protect former President Clinton, forged a once-secret deal in 2008 in Florida that allowed him to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution to avoid more serious charges.
"Most importantly, this case was important to the victims who had the courage to come forward and deserved the opportunity to confront the accused in the courtroom", Barr said. The plea deal, which required him to register as a sex offender, also served as a non-prosecution agreement, essentially shutting down an Federal Bureau of Investigation probe which was trying to determine if there were additional victims or other co-defendants.
"We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation", Barr said.
Amid the conspiracies and legitimate questions being raised around Epstein's death, Attorney General William Barr has called for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and DOJ to look into the circumstances around the inmate's suicide. "Any coconspirators should not rest easy, the victims deserve justice and they will get it".
Inmates on suicide watch are subjected to 24 hours per day of "direct, continuous observation", according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy.
In 2007, Epstein faced a 53-count federal indictment which could have sent him to prison for life, but he struck a secret plea deal with the help of prosecutor Alexander Acosta, who recently resigned as Labor Secretary.
USA authorities say Epstein had a residence in Paris and used a fake Austrian passport to travel to France in the 1980s. He pleaded not guilty.
Epstein was cleared from suicide watch at around July 29 before he was returned to the Special Housing Unit area of the jail.
Barr also noted the case against Epstein was important to the Department of Justice, himself personally, prosecutors with the Southern District of NY as well as the victims. The French statement didn't elaborate on other links to France.
The Paris prosecutor's office did not immediately comment. He was awaiting trial on drug trafficking charges.
Epstein's abrupt death cuts short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of a high-flying financier with connections to celebrities and presidents, though prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
His lawyers maintained that the new charges in NY were covered by the 2008 plea deal and that Epstein hadn't had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.