'He had the misfortune to be a wealthy man in the #metoo era': Epstein's lawyer blames prosecutors, jailers, judge, and reporters for his client's death
- After Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide early Saturday morning, one of his lawyers, Marc Fernich, emailed a statement to New York City courts reporter John Riley calling for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding his client's death.
- Fernich alleged that "overzealous prosecutors" jailed Epstein despite him being a "presumptively innocent man posing no real danger or flight risk."
- He also said "pandering politicians," "compliant judges," "jailers," "hysterical press corps" and "greedy plaintiff's lawyers" all "appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity" and have Epstein's "blood on their hands."
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One of Jeffrey Epstein's lawyers has spoken out after the wealthy financier, charged with sex trafficking of minors and conspiracy, died of an apparent suicide while in federal custody in Manhattan on Saturday.
Marc Fernich, a member of Epstein's defense, responded to his client's death in an email to New York City courts reporter John Riley, who tweeted it out on Saturday. Fernich wrote that he speaks "as an outraged citizen and defense lawyer, not as a representative of Jeffrey Epstein's defense team."
"There seems to be plenty of blame to go around for this unthinkable tragedy," Fernich wrote. "Overzealous prosecutors bent on locking up a presumptively innocent man posing no real danger or flight risk. Pandering politicians who wrote the restrictive bail laws that empower them to do it."
"Compliant judges who let them get away with it while paying lip service to the presumption of innocence," Fernich continued on in the email. "Jailers who appear to have recklessly put Mr. Epstein in harm's way, heedlessly placing his life at risk and failing to protect him."
Fernich appeared to be criticizing US District Judge Richard Berman's decision to deny Epstein bail, announced July 18, a week before Epstein's first apparent suicide attempt. In his decision to withhold bail, Berman argued that no bail package could overcome the danger posed to the community if Epstein was released.
The convicted sex offender was accused of sexually assaulting dozens of underage girls in the new federal charges against him. Epstein was pleading not guilty.
Epstein was denied bail and was in jail awaiting trial on new sex trafficking charges
Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Berman also characterized Epstein as a flight risk, given his wealth and assets, which include the financier's own claim to possess over $559 million, his properties, his private jets, his fleet of vehicles, and his art and diamonds. Berman also suggested a risk of obstruction of justice was posed by allowing Epstein to return home to his Manhattan mansion on bail.
Fernich had more fingers to point in his email, writing that "An hysterical press corps clamoring to recharge Mr. Epstein with dated crimes for which he'd long since paid his debt to society under an arm's length plea deal - just because he had the misfortune to be a wealthy man in the #metoo era whose former prosecutor happened to take a job with President Trump."
"Greedy plaintiff's lawyers who instigated and exploited the media frenzy to line their own pockets,". "Breathless reporters excavating every corner of Mr. Epstein's life to pile on, tear him down and kick him at his lowest - while still presumed innocent, before he'd had his day in court. All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity.
"All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein's blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior. I call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein's death. The public needs to know exactly what happened and why - and how his custodians could have let it occur."
The US Department of Justice said Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell from an apparent suicide at 6:30 a.m. and that staff performed "life-saving measures" before he was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead. Two weeks previously, when Epstein apparently attempted suicide the first time, he was placed on suicide watch, then taken off of it, multiple outlets have reported.
The FBI and the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General are both investigating the circumstances surrounding his death.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress, as well as best practices for professionals and resources to aid in prevention and crisis situations.