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More than 2,000 pages of Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) documents accessed by The New York Times showed that the former financier used his last days to complain about a running toilet, wearing an orange suit like a “bad guy” and denying that he was thinking of killing himself.
Epstein died by suicide on 10 August 2019.
His death was almost a month before an earlier attempt to take his own life in July the same year. Days after this attempt, he claimed he was living a “wonderful life” even as he was placed on suicide watch by prison authorities, according to the NYT , which cited the prison records in a report it published on Tuesday.
The suicide watch measure was taken off Epstein and changed into “psychological observation”, a less restrictive measure that would have other jail inmates taking shifts to monitor him in his jail cell.
The documents obtained by NYT, through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the newspaper, revealed Epstein had denied any suicidal intentions.
A clinical intervention report filed on 9 July 2019 had said Epstein “continues to deny any suicidal ideation, intention or plan”.
“I have no interest in killing myself,” Epstein told a prison psychologist, according to the BOP documents. “I would not do that to myself,” he added.
In a clinical intervention just days after he arrived in prison, Epstein said that being alive was “fun”.
A prison psychologist noted that Epstein was “future oriented” and said that he had denied charges of being a sex offender, the documents reveal.
The court documents noted that in the 36 days of his detention up until his death, Epstein “did not appear to be in any distress” and even said that he was living a “wonderful life” despite being on suicide watch.
The documents also reveal that Epstein was “upset about wearing an orange jumpsuit and being treated like “a bad guy” when he did not do anything wrong in the prison”.
He also complained in an attorney conference about living conditions in the jail including, the running toilet in his cell, feeling cold, and not having enough water. He also complained about difficulty sleeping and numbness in his right arm.
The documents also note that the billionaire offered psychologists and other inmates investment advice and often reminisced about his star-studded social circle.
They also pointed to several procedural lapses committed by the prison’s authorities, including identifying the financier as a Black male, and indicating that he had no prior sex offence convictions, even though he was a registered sex offender with two 2008 convictions in Florida, the report outlined.
The BOP had subsequently created a task force reportedly committed to strengthening its suicide prevention programme.
Epstein’s suicide came just over a month after his arrest aboard his private jet at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey following his return from Paris. He was sent to the Manhattan Correctional Centre in lower Manhattan on 6 July 2019, where he died aged 66.
Epstein was a convicted paedophile, financier and linked to a number of public figures ranging from Bill Clinton to Donald Trump and Prince Andrew, who is now a “person of interest” in the investigation involving Epstein and his partner Ghislaine Maxwell.
He was awaiting trial on charges of trafficking and abusing dozens of girls through the 1990s and 2000s along with Maxwell, a former socialite accused of grooming young women to have sex with Epstein and his famous friends.
The prison documents were accessed by the NYT just days before Maxwell’s trial is set to begin.
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.