Financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was arrested on sex-trafficking charges earlier this month, was found nearly unconscious in his New York City jail cell on Tuesday following a possible suicide attempt, the New York Post reports.
Prison guards purportedly found Epstein — who had previously been convicted of soliciting a prostitute under the age of 18 in 2008 and served a lenient 13-month sentence for the crime — sprawled across the floor at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he was being held without bail. Sources told the Post that Epstein was also found with injuries to his neck and may have tried to hurt himself in an effort to get transferred to a different jail.
Those same sources, however, also didn't rule out the possibility that the billionaire may have been attacked by an inmate.
Epstein was arrested on July 7 on sex-trafficking charges involving allegations that date back to the early 2000s, law enforcement officials told the Associated Press. One source told the newswire that Epstein had allegedly paid underage girls for massages and molested them at his residences in New York and Florida.
Last Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied bail for the convicted sex offender after prosecutors claimed that Epstein was a flight risk. Epstein's lawyers had argued that he should instead be under house arrest and had even offered to pledge a part of the financier's fortune — at least $559 million — as collateral. Berman, however, sided with the federal government, whose case against Epstein, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Rossmiller, has been "getting stronger every single day."
"I doubt that any bail package can overcome danger to the community," Berman said in denying Epstein's bail.
Prosecutors previously accused Epstein of tampering with witnesses, asserting that he had wired a total of $350,000 to co-conspirators days after the Miami Herald revealed that he had sexually abused underage girls between 2002 and 2005.
"This course of action, and in particular its timing, suggests the defendant was attempting to further influence co-conspirators who might provide information against him in light of the recently re-emerging allegations," the prosecution wrote in court papers.
One of Epstein's accusers, Courtney Wild, said that the financier abused her when she was just 14 and preferred being around girls who were white, prepubescent and easy to manipulate.
"By the time I was 16, I had probably brought him 70 to 80 girls who were all 14 and 15 years old. He was involved in my life for years," Wild told the Herald.
Wild has since encouraged other accusers to come forward.
"We will not get justice until you speak out," she said. "You are not alone, and this was not your fault."