Epstein’s Ghost: The Haunting of American Justice
A New York undercover police officer who has been to the downtown correctional facility where Jeffrey Epstein was found hanged Saturday morning is suspicious of the circumstances. The investigative journalist who originally broke the Epstein story open in 2010 for the Daily Beast is skeptical that the wealthy financier, confidante of world leaders, she met and interviewed would end his life before waging a vigorous battle in court. They tell Weltwoche that from their insider perspectives, the official version of Epstein’s demise raises many unanswered questions.
“Someone killed him.” When New York Police Detective Daniel Santana* saw the headline Saturday morning that 66 year old, billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell by apparent suicide, he was immediately suspicious.
“A high profile detainee like Epstein? You want to make sure they make it to their court dates. They’re going to get special treatment.”
Maybe Epstein did get special treatment at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center: “operational negligence,” in Santana’s officer lingo. In civilian terms: maybe guards looked the other way.
Santana has served as an undercover police officer for the NYPD for a decade and a half. His personal backstory is familiar to fans of Martin Scorsese or Spike Lee films. A kid from Queens, New York grows up in a multi-ethnic, working class neighborhood. Some friends become petty criminals. Others become public menaces. Some land in prison, but not at a correctional facility like MCC. They land in real prison where survival is a daily calculation. Santana, fortunately, comes from a long line of military men. His parents split when he was a kid, but they expected him to do the right thing and stay on the straight path. He becomes a New York City cop and vows to protect and serve.
Santana has interviewed countless detainees at MCC where Epstein spent his final month. The detective points out that the notorious lock up successfully detained the notorious drug king, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who had successfully staged an audacious escape from a maximum security prison in Mexico.
If the dreaded MCC — a grim, concrete Bauhuas downtown dungeon — could hold the feared and resourceful “El Chapo,” how did authorities let their highest profile inmate since “El Chapo” die?
Conchita Sarnoff is an investigative journalist who, during an exhaustive ten year investigation into Epstein’s vast sex trafficking network of underage girls, interviewed the billionaire pedophile, himself. She tells Die Weltwoche that she was only “semi shocked” by Epstein’s suicide on the inside. She tells me, “Only days after his arrest [last month], I received a call from a federal agent warning me that, ‘Epstein might not make it to trial.’”
Like Santana, Sarnoff is skeptical that Epstein’s final act was a one man production. “I knew and spent time with Epstein. Epstein was a man who believed in the power of money and blackmail. He had both to spare. Like Icarus, he felt invincible even behind bars because of the power and people his money could purchase.”
A glittering roster of people like Prince Andrew, former President Bill Clinton, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers — all alleged to have traveled on Epstein’s private jet nicknamed the “Lolita Express.”
An excruciating 72 hours after the announcement of Epstein’s death, authorities finally revealed that Icarus used a bedsheet to hang himself from a top bunk of his two-man cell. At six feet tall, he reportedly leaned forward with the sheet around his neck and let gravity do the rest.
Means and method: seemingly answered. How and why: many questions remain.
Santana points out that Epstein had a cell mate who was moved out of Epstein’s cell after Epstein’s first suicide attempt. “That’s odd. That cell mate becomes an alarm system.”
Santana also notes that, in his experience with high profile detainees — “We’re not talking about your run of the mill gang members” — the downtown detention facility is fully cognizant that inmates like Epstein are at a high risk of getting hurt, being extorted, or becoming a danger to themselves. In Epstein’s case, a failed suicide attempt last month was living proof.
“I’m really grasping for ways he did it,” Santana says. “It takes a long time to hang yourself. And it’s noisy. Between 4:00am and 6:00am, no one on the hall heard it? It’s so claustrophobic, if a pin drops, someone knows it.”
Sarnoff is in contact with several of the Palm Beach predator’s victims. She can’t disclose her specific conversations with them, but she reports that most are talking to the Department of Justice regarding several ongoing investigations into their abuse.
Sarnoff, who serves as a senior fellow at the Georgetown University Walsh School of Foreign Affairs, credits the sordid and sprawling Epstein scandal with inspiring her to protect and serve victims of sex trafficking.
I ask Santana how he feels about his personal suspicion that his own colleagues in blue at the MCC may have served a corrupt agenda.
He tells me, “I’m disgusted. I put my hand up and swore an oath to this country, to this state, to two states, actually! To think that my bosses might have…” He trails off. He can’t finish the thought.
*Daniel Santana is a pseudonym for an NYPD undercover officer who requests his identity be withheld.