(CBS) – Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing federal sex trafficking charges, died Saturday from an apparent suicide, federal officials said. The federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement the FBI was investigating his death.
Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his cell at a holding facility in New York City at around 6:30 a.m., according to the statement. Staff at the Metropolitan Correctional Center tried to revive him, and he was eventually taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The New York City medical examiner’s office was also investigating Epstein’s cause of death, a spokesperson told CBS News, and will conduct an autopsy and toxicology test to determine the cause. Federal prosecutors in New York alleged Epstein abused dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
Epstein was found injured on the floor of his cell in late July. At the time, law enforcement sources told CBS News Epstein was found semi-conscious with slight bruising around his neck.
Epstein was charged last month with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking with underage females. He pleaded not guilty.
The indictment came 11 years after Epstein cut a deal with attorneys in Florida to avoid a similar charge. “Over the course of many years, Jeffrey Epstein, the defendant, sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations,” the indictment reads.
An attorney who has represented more than a dozen women accusing Epstein of sexual abuse called the apparent suicide “unfortunate and predictable.”
“We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice,” Edwards said. In a statement on Twitter, Lisa Bloom, who represents three accusers, said civil cases would continue.
Epstein’s alleged victims said through their attorneys they are angry they won’t get a chance for justice since the criminal case will end with his death.
“I don’t blame them for being very angry,” said CBS News legal analyst Rikki Klieman. “They have lived with shame – either privately or publicly – they deserve their day in court to show that they are survivors. They deserve their day in court to show that they are survivors. “
Klieman said the spotlight could now turn to Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstien’s one-time girlfriend who has been accused of procuring girls for him.
Civil cases against him can proceed against his estate, Klieman said.