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Epstein's lawyer says pedophile's death in jail was a homicide since he was 'upbeat and excited' before dying

Epstein was reportedly planning to mount legal and factual defenses to the sex trafficking allegations against him
UPDATED MAY 27, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Pedophile millionaire Jeffrey Epstein's death was a homicide, his lawyer David Schoen claimed in a recent statement. Schoen said that Epstein could not kill himself since he was preparing a multi-layered legal and media strategy to fight his case. The lawyer added that his client had asked him to lead his legal team in his final days. Epstein was reportedly planning to mount legal and factual defenses to the sex trafficking allegations against him.

Epstein allegedly hanged himself at the Manhattan Correctional Center on August 10, despite being intermittently put on suicide watch. The financier was arrested by federal agents on July 6, 2019 in New Jersey after his return from a Paris trip and was charged with child sex trafficking in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1591.

Schoen, during a five-hour meeting with Epstein just nine days before his death, said that his client was "upbeat and excited, adding that he was looking forward to clearing his name in the case. However, the millionaire was in a "dangerous situation" in prison and had suggested to Schoen that other prisoners in the facility were mulling blackmailing him.

The prisoners would reportedly see Epstein on a television inside prison and tell him: "$70 million mansion, huh?" Epstein's lawyer made the revelation in new documentary 'Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?' about the sex offender.

Considering multiple theories rife around Epstein's death, the three-part docuseries questions whether the financier committed suicide while awaiting his trial. Although an official autopsy has stated that his death was a suicide, other experts including renowned pathologist Dr Michael Baden has claimed that there is evidence of homicide in the incident. Schoen also believed that his client did not take his life: "I think it was a homicide but I don't know who killed him," he says in the documentary. 

Multiple reports suggesting apparent failures at the prison's part have emerged ever since his death. The correctional officers responsible for guarding Epstein on the night he committed suicide were allegedly shopping online for furniture and napping instead of checking on the financier who was in his cell just 15 feet away from the guards. Reports state that even the cameras outside his prison cell were not working.

Schoen, while speaking to the Daily Mail, stated that despite Epstein's vast finances, his legal team was in turmoil. The lawyer said that the financier ultimately asked him to lead the case as they discussed factual rebuttals.

"People who were coming forward he'd never seen before and had nothing to do with," the lawyer said. "I thought he was getting killed in the media when he could respond, he should at least explain and respond. There was a miserable failure to do so and his lawyers were dysfunctional." Epstein's plan to push back reportedly included "appealing to the public sense of fairness."

The lawyer said he wanted to talk about the "political pressure" that led to Epstein's arrest and the "extortion attempts" made by victims' lawyers. Schoen claimed that in one case a lawyer supposedly sent a letter to Epstein demanding $25 million to make the victim's claims go away. The financier, however, did not pay. 

"At least I wanted people to report on the fact how much lawyers were making off this thing. I'd hope that some people agree that some of these women tricked him," the lawyer added.

Epstein and Schoen, during their five-hour meeting on August 1, had "mapped out a strategy and he was upbeat and excited." The lawyer said: "We were in the area where prisoners meet lawyers. At one point a prison psychiatrist came in and asked me to leave so she could talk to Epstein on his own. They talked for five minutes and he seemed relaxed. He was smiling as she left. He had plans to really fight this case. He'd made arrangements to hire me."

Schoen said Esptein, however, was concerned about his former cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione, a hulking ex-cop accused of four murders. During Epstein's first apparent suicide attempt on July 23, Tartaglione was his cellmate.

"The first incident that happened which the newspapers reported as a possible suicide attempt, Epstein didn't want to discuss any further," Schoen said. "He told the prison officers he couldn't remember what happened, he didn't want to answer any more questions. Look, he was in a dangerous situation. He's a very wealthy guy accused of sex offences stuck in with a guy accused of four murders. First of all, he shouldn't have been locked up among the general population, that's reprehensible. He'd have guys who watch the nightly news on the prison TV and say to him, $70 million mansion, huh? I've been through this with other clients and I told him to keep him an eye on this and tell me if anyone was extorting him."

The first episode of the docuseries began streaming online on Investigation Discovery on May 26, the series will be premiered on TV on May 31.