New York (AP) - The accused of abusing underage girls US entrepreneur Jeffrey Epstein has, according to the news agency AP killed in a prison in New York.
AP appealed Saturday to an unnamed source with knowledge of the incident. A number of other US media, including the "New York Times," reported the suicide. Inquiries from the dpa to the competent authorities and to Epstein's lawyer with a request for an opinion remained unanswered.
The New York Procuratorate accused Epstein of abusing dozens of minor girls between 2002 and 2005. Epstein pleaded not guilty. The start date of the trial was provisionally set for June 8, 2020, US media reports said.
The heavy-hearted businessman escaped federal trial in 2008 for allegations of abuse by entering into an agreement with the state prosecutor to protect him from further investigation. At the time, Epstein pleaded guilty to providing clients with underage prostitutes and served a thirteen-month prison term, sometimes in relaxed conditions. In return, he came without trial before a federal court.
The deal was approved by the then state prosecutor in Florida, Alexander Acosta - after the new allegations against Epstein this was then resigned from his current post as US Labor Secretary.
A judge ruled that 66-year-old Epstein must remain in prison until the trial begins. The judge had ruled that Epstein was a "danger to others and the community" and therefore had to remain in prison for the time being.
Thus, the judge had followed the prosecution's argument, which sees a high risk of escape for the wealthy entrepreneur, who has numerous properties worldwide and his own plane. However, Epstein's defense demanded that the entrepreneur be placed under house arrest at his Manhattan property, and that, according to media reports, a double-digit million-dollar deposit was offered.
At the end of July, Epstein was reportedly found injured in his prison cell, according to US media reports - even then it should have been a suicide attempt. Born in 1953 in New York, Epstein has worked as a teacher and investment banker and has always enjoyed showing off to the public with stars and politicians. In the US elite, he was considered well-connected.