Jeffrey Epstein claimed he was not suicidal days before killing himself, according to a new trove of documents obtained by The New York Times.
The Bureau of Prisons documents, which were not previously public, include notes and reports from doctors and fellow inmates that offer a new look at the 36 days Epstein spent in the Metropolitan Correctional Center following his July 2019 arrest on charges of sex trafficking involving minors. There’s reportedly nothing in the documents that lends credence to conspiracy theories suggesting Epstein did not die by suicide. Instead, they offer a glimpse at Epstein’s mindset during his incarceration and at how prison personnel failed to monitor and protect such a high-profile inmate.
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Epstein killed himself in his cell, using a bedsheet to hang himself, per a medical examiner report, on Aug. 10, 2019. He’d attempted suicide in the same manner a few weeks prior, but from his first psychological evaluation, which was dated July 9 (three days after he entered the Metropolitan Correctional Center), he presented as if he had no interest in taking his life.
The doctor’s notes from that first session state that “Epstein adamantly denied any suicidal ideation, intention or plan.” While the doctor said Epstein did not need to be placed on suicide watch, she suggested the psychological observation continue “out of an abundance of caution.” In another session soon after, a psychologist wrote: “He was smirking and said, ‘Why would you ever think I would be suicidal? I am not suicidal and I would never be.’”
Epstein’s first attempt at suicide occurred July 23, several days after a judge denied a renewed bail request; while Epstein was placed on suicide watch after that decision, he was removed from it after about 31 hours. In the aftermath of his suicide attempt, Epstein reportedly said he was living a “wonderful life” and denied he had any intention of trying to take his life again. Epstein told a jail psychologist, “I have no interest in killing myself,” reportedly adding that he was a “coward” who didn’t like pain, adding that, as a Jew, suicide was against his religion.
Epstein underwent another suicide risk assessment after federal marshals who took him a to July 31 court hearing submitted a “Prisoner Custody Alert Notice” that said he might have “suicidal tendencies.” But the documents suggest Epstein once again convinced the psychologist that he was not going to kill himself, and that he was focused on beating his case and returning to his “normal life.”
The documents also offer some new details about the night Epstein did kill himself. He allegedly placed a “social” phone call and spent 15 minutes speaking with his girlfriend, Karyna Shuliak. But the call wasn’t included in phone logs, and Epstein supposedly told the unit manager that he was calling his mother, who’d died in 2004.
The files also include an email sent two months after Epstein’s death to the prison psychology department by an inmate who claimed to have had a conversation with another inmate whose cell had been next to Epstein’s. The inmate who’d been next to Epstein was confident that Epstein had killed himself, and that he had heard him “tearing up his sheet before committing suicide.”
Along with all the details about Epstein’s psychological evaluations in prison, the documents offer notes from “inmate companions,” who kept tabs on Epstein. The disgraced financier would allegedly talk at length about the various celebrities he knew, the “escort business,” and financial matters. Epstein allegedly also complained about his orange prison clothes and the noise made by the running toilet in his cell, which prompted one psychologist to wonder if he might be autistic.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). You can also reach out to the Crisis Text Line, a free, 24/7 confidential text messaging service that provides support to people in crisis when they text 741741.
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