Jeffrey Epstein autopsy report shows broken neck

Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in New York City on Saturday. (AFP/File photo)
Updated 15 August 2019

Jeffrey Epstein autopsy report shows broken neck

  • Epstein committed suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges
  • Medical examiner says a neck fracture was atypical in a suicide

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON: An autopsy of the financier Jeffrey Epstein, who died in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, found his neck had been broken in several places, according to two law enforcement sources.
Such injuries can occur to people who hang themselves or who are strangled.
Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in New York City on Saturday. The circumstances of the multi-millionaire’s death are under investigation, and it was unclear when a report of the autopsy would be made public.
One of the two law enforcement sources familiar with the Epstein case said there was no evidence or suggestion of foul play but cautioned the investigation was at an early stage.
“In all forensic investigations, all information must be synthesized to determine the cause and manner of death,” Barbara Sampson, New York City’s chief medical examiner, said in a statement on Thursday. “Everything must be consistent; no single finding can be evaluated in a vacuum.”
Epstein’s broken neck was reported earlier by the Washington Post.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which runs the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan where Epstein was jailed, said there had not been an inmate suicide there since 2006.
Zhongxue Hua, the Bergen County medical examiner in New Jersey, said a neck fracture was atypical in a suicide but warned not to jump to conclusions.
“It’s unusual to have a neck fracture,” Hua said. “But the first question to address is when did it occur.”
If Epstein’s neck fracture was fresh, Hua said, then “at a minimum, it’s a very unusual suicide.”
Epstein, 66, who once counted Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former President Bill Clinton as friends, was found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday morning, according to the prison bureau.
A source told Reuters previously that he was found hanging by the neck.
Mark Epstein, who is Jeffrey Epstein’s brother, said in an interview on Thursday he had last seen his brother in the morgue on Sunday.
Jeffrey Epstein pleaded not guilty in July to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls between 2002 and 2005. Prosecutors said he recruited and paid girls to give him massages, which became sexual in nature.
The financier had been on suicide watch at the MCC but was taken off prior to his death, according to a source who was not authorized to speak on the matter.
Epstein was alone in a cell when he was found hanging there.
Attorney General William Barr has said the criminal investigation into any possible co-conspirators would continue.
Barr, whose agency oversees the Bureau of Prisons, has also demanded an investigation into Epstein’s death and ordered the temporary reassignment of his jail warden.
The bureau said 20 of its inmates, including those under home confinement or in halfway houses, committed suicide in the 10 months ending in July, and 109 committed suicide in its previous five fiscal years, which end on Sept. 30.
It also said its suicide rate is lower than that for the overall US population.
At the MCC, two jail guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed overnight, the source said.
Separately, a team at the jail on Wednesday began an “after action” review, which is normally triggered by significant events such as a prominent inmate’s death, a person familiar with the matter said. 


US lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill

Updated 7 min 18 sec ago

US lawmakers reach deal on massive defense bill

  • The US House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act
  • The bill says Trump should implement sanctions on Turkey over the S-400 purchase, something lawmakers have been demanding
WASHINGTON: US lawmakers announced an agreement on Monday on a $738-billion bill setting policy for the Department of Defense, including new measures for competing with Russia and China, family leave for federal workers and the creation of President Donald Trump’s long-desired Space Force.
It also calls for sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system, and a tough response to North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons.
The US House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services Committees agreed on a compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, after months of negotiations. It is expected to pass before Congress leaves Washington later this month for the year-end holiday break.
The legislation includes $658.4 billion for the Department of Defense and Department of Energy national security programs, $71.5 billion to pay for ongoing foreign wars, known as “Overseas Contingency Operations” funding, and $5.3 billion in emergency funding for repairs of damage from extreme weather and natural disasters.
There were concerns earlier this year that the NDAA might fail for the first time in 58 years over steep divides between the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Republican-controlled Senate over Trump’s policies.
Because it is one of the few pieces of major legislation Congress passes every year, the NDAA becomes a vehicle for a range of policy measures as well as setting everything from military pay levels to which ships or aircraft will be modernized, purchased or discontinued.
It includes a 3.1 percent pay hike for the troops, the largest in a decade and, for the first time, 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers, something Democrats strongly sought.
Among other things, the proposed fiscal 2020 NDAA imposes sanctions related to Russia’s Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipelines and bars military-to-military cooperation with Russia.
Russia is building the pipelines to bolster supply to Europe while bypassing Ukraine, and members of Congress have been pushing the Trump administration to do more to stop the projects as they near completion.
The NDAA also prohibits the transfer of F-35 stealth fighter jets, which Lockheed Martin Corp. is developing, to Turkey. It expresses a Sense of Congress that Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system, which Washington says it not compatible with NATO defenses and threatens the F-35, constitutes a significant transaction under US sanctions law.
The bill says Trump should implement sanctions on Turkey over the S-400 purchase, something lawmakers have been demanding.
The NDAA also reauthorizes $300 million of funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, to include lethal defensive items as well as new authorities for coastal defense cruise missiles and anti-ship missiles.
Military aid to Ukraine has been at the center of the impeachment inquiry into Trump, after his administration held up security assistance for Kiev last summer even as the country dealt with challenges from Russia.
Fulfilling one of Trump’s most high-profile requests, the bill establishes the US Space Force as the sixth Armed Service of the United States, under the Air Force.
The legislation also contains a series of provisions intended to address potential threats from China, including requiring reports on China’s overseas investments and its military relations with Russia.
It bars the use of federal funds to buy rail cars and buses from China, and it says Congress “unequivocally supports” residents of Hong Kong as they defend their rights and seek to preserve their autonomy with China. It also supports improving Taiwan’s defense capabilities.
The NDAA calls for a sweeping approach to North Korea’s nuclear weapons development, as well as the threat it poses to US forces on the Korean peninsula and allies in the region.
It puts mandatory sanctions on North Korean imports and exports of coal and other minerals and textiles, as well as some petroleum products and crude oil, and it puts additional sanctions on banks that deal with North Korea.
The bill also bars the Pentagon from reducing the number of troops deployed to South Korea below 28,500 unless the Secretary of Defense certifies that it is in the US national security interest to do so.