“Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself.”
This phrase is being knitted into ugly Christmas sweaters, thrown in at the end of cable news interviews, and meme-ed to death. It’s a dark conspiracy theory turned into something of a joke, but it resonates deeply.
It speaks to the valid suspicion many people have about our nation’s justice system. As a Miami area criminal defense attorney, this is unsurprising.
The Official Info
In 2008, billionaire financier — and sometimes Palm Beach resident — Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to a state-level felony charge of solicitation of prostitution involving a minor and was sentenced to 18 months behind bars. He was allowed to leave the facility 6 days a week for work-release and only ended up serving 13 months. Many powerful people, including Alexander Acosta, who until very recently was serving at the U.S. Secretary of Labor, pushed for this lenient sentence.
Epstein’s many alleged victims, some of them as young as 14, were not told about his plea deal until much later. Some of them didn’t know the details of it until Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown asked them what they thought about it. Brown’s subsequent article sent shockwaves through the legal and political worlds and sparked renewed interest in the case from federal prosecutors.
This summer, Epstein was arrested again, and charged with one count of sex trafficking of a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking. He was denied bail. Additional evidence against him was being collected when he was found dead in his jail cell.
The medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide. That is officially how he died.
Off The Record
However, since the moment his death was reported, there have been rumors that Epstein did not kill himself. He was linked to so many powerful people, so there is a suspicion that he was murdered so that his secrets would die with him.
A forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s family fanned the rumor flames when he went on Fox & Friends and announced that many of Epstein’s injuries “are extremely unusual in suicidal hangings and could occur much more commonly in homicidal strangulation.”
Since then, conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death have gone viral if not mainstream.
What Does This Mean?
For a country that is deeply divided in so many ways, it is strange to see a somewhat political case/story/meme be universally adopted. It speaks to the fear people have about our government, and about the justice system in particular.
As a criminal defense attorney, I think that fear is valid. Many people are not treated as well as they should when they are in custody, under investigation, or even on trial.
However, what we have is better than any alternative. Our system is flawed but generally fair. It isn’t a total mess, but rather a predictable one. Working with an experienced attorney, who can advocate for you, collect evidence on your behalf, and defend your God and government given rights, is not a bad option.
We may never know what really happened in Epstein’s jail cell, but we shouldn’t let that further color public opinion about our criminal justice system.
Posted in: Criminal