MONDAY August 12
Jeffrey Epstein has died of an apparent suicide in his jail cell, prompting an additional federal investigation into his death along with one already examining allegations of sexual abuse and conspiracy against him.
Epstein, a wealthy financier accused of orchestrating a sex-trafficking ring and sexually abusing dozens of underage girls, was found unresponsive on Saturday morning in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre.
He was later pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital.
He had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month. He had pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, but was taken off the watch at the end of July.
A former inmate at the Metropolitan Correction Centre told The New York Post’s Brad Hamilton and Bruce Golding on the condition of anonymity: “There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.”
Former US Attorney Preet Bharara tweeted that he was “dumbfounded” by Epstein’s death.
“There should be – and almost certainly is – video of Epstein’s suicide at MCC,” he said. “One hopes it is complete, conclusive and secured.”
Monica Lewinsky tweeted her support for the victims in the wake of the “strange news.”
“(To) all those young women who may be suffering today as a result of (E)pstein’s death, (I) send my love [and] supportive thoughts,” she wrote.
“May your core strength and emotional stability be nearby.”
One former inmate, Uziar Paracha, who was held there for two years until 2005, wrote he was subjected to frequent strip searchers, isolation from other prisoners, lights that were left on 22 or 23 hours per day.
He told The New York Post, guards “monitored us like lab rats.”
“If he killed himself someone had to have helped him,” Lewis Kasma, a confidant of the late mobster John Gotti Sr, told the Post.
“There are cameras going 24/7 and they’re watching 24/7. Someone had to give Epstein the equipment to kill himself and he had to pay for it dearly,” said Kasman.
Kasman added: “That facility for years had issues of corruption, with correction officers bringing in food or cellphones for wealthy people.”
Calling for an investigation by the FBI, Attorney-General William Barr, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death while in federal custody.
“Mr Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said in a statement.
Several of Epstein’s accusers said on Saturday that they’re disappointed that the financier won’t have to face them in court or serve a long prison sentence if convicted. They called on federal authorities to investigate associates of Epstein for any roles in his activities.
A woman has died after being struck by a falling tree in Prices Park in Melbourne’s inner-north.
Ambulance Victoria said emergency workers were called to the park, in Parkville, just after 8:30am.
The woman was taken to the nearby Royal Melbourne Hospital with critical injuries, but police said she died a short time later.
No-one else was injured during the incident.
The tree had fallen near busy Royal Parade, which links suburbs such as Carlton and Brunswick to the CBD.
It fell onto a bitumen footpath between Royal Parade and the park’s popular gravel running track.
Police and firefighters remained at the scene.
Strong winds lashed the state over the weekend as a cold front moved across Australia’s south-east.
On Friday, Melbourne mother Angie Suryadi was killed when a tree fell on her family’s car on the Black Spur drive.
A distraught Serena Williams has broken down in tears after pulling out of the final of a Canadian WTA tournament, handing 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu her second title.
Williams succumbed to a back injury after just four games of the final of the Rogers Cup.
When news of William’s forfeit reached Andreescu, she leapt from her chair to give her opponent a hug and her condolences.
“I’ve watched you your whole career. You’re a f***ing beast, but injuries – I’ve been through so many already and you know how they are.” the Canadian said, admitting she teared up when she saw her idol in pain.
Andreescus said despite the manner in which it happened, winning the Rogers Cup in Toronto, which borders her hometown of Mississauga, made it “10 times more special” than winning her first WTA title at Indian Wells in California earlier this year.
Williams said she was confident the back issues would go away in time for her to compete at the US Open at the end of the month.
She said she had suffered from similar back spasms before and they usually went away within a couple of days.
“It started yesterday in my match and it just got worse,” she said.
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