In the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s death over the weekend, a report says two of the high-flying financier’s longtime lawyers are seeking outside legal counsel of their own.
The New York Times reported Sunday that lawyers Jeffrey Schantz and Darren Indyke recently hired criminal defense attorneys to represent them. According to the Times, the pair were “involved with some of his trusts and other entities in New York and in the Virgin Islands.” Court documents show Epstein’s vast fortune is valued at least $559 million.
Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday morning at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. Law enforcement received a telephone call at 6:39 a.m. local time that the hedge fund manager was suffering from cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead at NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital in what is believed to have been due to an apparent suicide.
Epstein was facing charges of sex trafficking that stemmed from activities over a period of three years in the early 2000s. He served a 13-month prison sentence in Florida in 2008 after he was charged with similar offenses, and was forced to register as a sex offender. His attorneys unsuccessfully lobbied for bail and house arrest on the new charges, but a federal New York judge declared him a flight risk and a danger to the community.
In a statement, New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said the autopsy on Epstein was performed on Sunday and stated she would release its details “pending further information.”
Authorities, including Attorney General William Barr, have expressed dismay at Epstein’s death in federal custody and pledged to investigate. “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Barr said in a statement. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
On Sunday, the Associated Press reported that the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was experiencing staff shortages the time of Epstein’s death with only one guard working a fifth-straight day of overtime and another guard working mandatory overtime.
Epstein was put on the prison’s suicide watch after he was discovered on July 23rd with neck bruises, according to several reports. However, he was take off the watch list in the days leading up to his death.
Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who worked at three federal prisons, said he is stunned by Epstein’s removal from the list. “For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking. For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances. You leave him on suicide watch until he’s out of there,” Lindsay told NBC. “It’s too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer.”
Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, has vowed investigators will continue to pursue the case despite Epstein’s death.
“To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing,” Berman said in a statement Saturday.
The UPI contributed to this report.