Epstein's mystery death in jail doesn't end the scandal he created

By Sajjad Malik
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 16, 2019
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U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. [Photo/VCG]

U.S. multi-billionaire Jeffery Epstein reportedly committed suicide in a detention center in Manhattan while awaiting trial on child sex trafficking charges. 

Some have speculated that the death may have something to do with his "rich friends" and it has spurred demands for a deeper investigation not just about the circumstance leading to the alleged suicide but how this benefited others by silencing a potential source of explosive revelations. 

The story of Epstein is worthy of a crime novel. He was awaiting trial on the sex-trafficking charges following the release of new testimony linking him with some high-profile people in the U.S. and abroad in sexual activities with under-age children. However, before the case could reach a formal hearing, he was found dead in his cell.  

The crux of the latest allegations against him were that, between 2002 and 2005, he paid to have sex with girls as young as 14 at his Upper East Side home in New York and at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida. He was arrested last month and held in New York' Metropolitan Correctional Center.   

However, the case quickly broadened to allegations coming from now-adult women who said Epstein would send them to his friends to offer sexual favors in return for money. The victims named several influential men.

The nature of crime and mysterious death of the chief accused reveals a classical nexus between wealth, sex and crime. It shows how the unholy alliance involving the rich and powerful can ruin the lives of innocent youth. 

The weaknesses of American policing and the judicial system have also been laid bare. Apparently, the circle of Epstein's crimes evolved into a rapidly-gyrating spin for years and nobody tried to put brakes on it until a victims' testimony could no longer be ignored.  

In the period before his trial, Epstein was kept under tight security, but was not subject to a suicide watch, although, there was a general apprehension that he might come to harm. That is precisely what happened. 

Reportedly, he was briefly placed on the suicide watch after jail officials found marks on his neck on July 23. However, this was revoked after mandatory medical and psychological tests. 

A lot of loopholes and laxity have become apparent in the case, which should not be excused. The reason is that Epstein was no ordinary accused. He ran a kind of racket and had already faced accusations of involvement in under-age sex in 2007 in Florida. 

The key question is who might have benefited from his death. It will not be known any time soon. Still there are several other questions to be answered, and many are awaiting the official report on whether he died at his own hand or not.

A file photo of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. [Photo/VCG]

Attorney General William Barr is committed to a full investigation and has promised justice for victims. However, that is easier said than done. The reason is that Epstein is dead, and so is his case. 

The victims can still sue and might get some monetary compensation from liquidation of the huge properties and wealth that Epstein accumulated during his voluptuous career. Yet, beyond that, it would be quite a task for prosecutors to bring to justice so many big names that have so far been named by the media as possible partners in crime.   

Tragic as is this whole sorry saga, more important is the huge question mark over the American justice system. 

No matter how honestly the probe is carried out, and even if some men brought to justice, there will be people in the country and elsewhere who will continue to harbor mistrust towards the outcome of the investigation.

The public is losing its confidence in the country's premier institutions. Conspiracy theories can easily take hold of the imagination of the masses when folks refuse to accept the official version of important incidents.  

Seemingly, long after Epstein's death, people will continue to wrangle over who killed him and whose skin was saved due to his death. 

Sajjad Malik is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


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