As I said yesterday, join the club. Jeffrey Epstein’s legal team announced yesterday that they will launch an independent investigation into his death, including why authorities housed Epstein in the “medieval conditions” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC). His attorneys aren’t ruling out suicide, but they’re not embracing it as an explanation either:
Three of Mr. Epstein’s lawyers, Martin G. Weinberg, Reid Weingarten and Michael Miller, challenged the findings and vowed to conduct their own investigation.
“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” said the lawyers, who had hired a private pathologist to observe the autopsy, in a statement. “We will have a more complete response in the coming days.”
NYT reporter Michael Gold tweeted out their entire statement:
— Michael Gold (@migold) August 16, 2019
Not to be too crass, but who’s going to pay for such an investigation? It’s not going to be cheap to fight the government for access to all of this, and perhaps to conduct a separate and independent autopsy as well as depose witnesses and bring in experts. Epstein probably set up a legal fund to deal with all of the attorneys he was going to have to pay, but he was paying them to sit with him for hours on end at MCC for the last several weeks, as well as doing all of the normal legal work of a man facing federal prosecution. If those funds run out or if Epstein was paying them directly, his estate will have to pay for the investigation — and it might get tied up in more pressing matters such as the avalanche of lawsuits coming from Epstein’s victims.
Perhaps his attorneys foresee a lawsuit of their own and think it will eventually be a self-funding effort. From what has already emerged, there seems to be ample grounds for a lawsuit over incompetence and fraud at MCC, and it might benefit some of the people detained in the facility now by forcing the government to properly staff and resource it. However, even if a jury was inclined to rule in favor of Epstein’s team in a wrongful-death suit, how much would such a jury award in damages over the loss of Jeffrey F’in Epstein? Hope they don’t mind post-mortem pro bono work.
For now, their skepticism may be warranted but it’s also strategic. It’s in their interest to maintain the narrative of Epstein The Wronged whether accurate or not. Note too that they’re not entirely rejecting the conclusion that Epstein committed suicide, although they’re leaving rejection open as a possibility. Their tactical ambiguity leaves open a wide range of possibilities, from outright murder and “assisted” suicide all the way down to reckless endangerment as a catalyst for an actual Epstein suicide.
The threat of an independent investigation might also be a strategic bluff, or an overstatement; it will keep the Department of Justice on its toes as it conducts its own investigations into Epstein’s death and the conditions at the MCC. Right now, everyone’s antennae are up and no one’s going to embrace any initial conclusions on the case until we see lots and lots of evidence for them.
Addendum: This look at Epstein’s last days — and his environment — from the NYT makes suicide look more plausible, at least:
But in his final days, Mr. Epstein’s efforts to lessen the misery of incarceration seemed to be faltering.
He was seldom bathing, his hair and beard were unkempt and he was sleeping on the floor of his cell instead of on his bunk bed, according to people at the jail. …
“One thing I can say for sure is when I left him he was very, very upbeat,” said Mr. Schoen, who never had the chance to join the team.
But in the days that followed, Mr. Epstein started appearing more haggard, according to lawyers and prison staff.
“He’s deprived of communication with third parties, looked disheveled, sleeping on the floor sometimes,” a lawyer said.
Be sure to read it all, and marvel that the suicide rate isn’t higher at MCC than it already is.
Update: Will these same attorneys explain what took them so long to file a motion to dismiss based on double jeopardy? It may not have succeeded, but if it did, Epstein would have been out of MCC.