Jeffrey Epstein’s attorney blamed the media, the government and the courts for his client’s apparent suicide inside his Manhattan prison cell Saturday.
Marc Fernich, one of the multimillionaire’s attorneys, said in a personal statement to Fox News that he is “outraged” at Epstein’s death and that there is “plenty of blame to go around for this unthinkable tragedy.”
Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive inside his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City around 6:30 a.m., officials said. He was transported to the New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital and was dead on arrival.
Multiple reports claim that he hanged himself. An autopsy is pending.
Fernich said that “overzealous prosecutors,” “pandering politicians,” “compliant judges” and a “hysterical press corps” were all to blame for Epstein’s death while he awaited trial for sex trafficking charges.
“Breathless reporters excavating every corner of Mr. Epstein’s life to pile on, tear him down and kick him at his lowest — while still presumed innocent, before he’d had his day in court,” he said. “All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein’s blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior.”
Epstein was arrested last month over the alleged abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida between 2002 and 2005.
At the time of Epstein's arrest, prosecutors said they found a trove of pictures of nude and seminude young women and girls at his $77 million Manhattan mansion. They also say additional victims have come forward since the arrest.
He had pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
Thousands of documents were unsealed Friday in connection with a defamation case against his alleged recruiter, Ghislaine Maxwell, that revealed dozens of high-profile names including former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.
Epstein's death comes two weeks after the 66-year-old was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck. At the time, it was not clear whether the injuries were self-inflicted or from an assault.
He had been taken off suicide watch before he killed himself, a person familiar with the matter told the AP. It wasn't immediately clear when he was taken off suicide watch.
Epstein's death is likely to raise questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of high-profile inmates.
Below is Fernish's full statement:
"I speak as an outraged citizen and defense lawyer, not as a representative of Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team.
There seems plenty of blame to go around for this unthinkable tragedy.
Overzealous prosecutors bent on locking up a presumptively innocent man posing no real danger or flight risk.
Pandering politicians who wrote the restrictive bail laws that empower them to do it.
Compliant judges who let them get away with it while paying lip service to the presumption of innocence.
Jailers who appear to have recklessly put Mr. Epstein in harm’s way, heedlessly placing his life at risk and failing to protect him.
An hysterical press corps clamoring to recharge Mr. Epstein with dated crimes for which he’d long since paid his debt to society under an arm’s length plea deal — just because he had the misfortune to be a wealthy man in the #metoo era whose former prosecutor happened to take a job with President Trump.
Greedy plaintiff’s lawyers who instigated and exploited the media frenzy to line their own pockets.
Breathless reporters excavating every corner of Mr. Epstein’s life to pile on, tear him down and kick him at his lowest — while still presumed innocent, before he’d had his day in court.
All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein’s blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior.
I call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death. The public needs to know exactly what happened and why — and how his custodians could have let it occur.”
Fox News' Martha Dhanis and Bryan Llenas contributed to this report.