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US attorney general says Epstein's death 'raises serious questions'

Jeffrey Epstein

US Attorney General William Barr has decried the death of pedophile and disgraced billionaire Jeffrey Epstein in federal custody, saying the apparent suicide "raises serious questions."

“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr said in a statement on Saturday.

"In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death," Barr added.

Epstein allegedly hanged himself in his cell at the Manhattan Correctional Center on Saturday morning, despite previous reports that he was placed on suicide watch in late July after a possible suicide attempt in his New York jail cell.

He had been indicted on several charges of exploiting underage girls, sex trafficking, and other crimes related to activities that took place between 2002 and 2005 in several different locations.

His death follows the unsealing of 2,000 pages of documents on Friday that linked many rich and powerful people to Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring and illegal sexual activities.

President Donald Trump meanwhile retweeted a post on Saturday about Epstein's death in which Twitter user Terrence K. Williams blamed the death on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton and does not provide evidence. 

The tweet included the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily, as well as a photo of both the former president and secretary of state. Conspiracy theories linking the death to both the Clinton and Trump himself trended Saturday on Twitter. 

Some analysts expressed suspicion around the circumstances of his death, noting Epstein's untimely death to be a convenient incident for those high-profile individuals included among his friends.

The 66-year-old, who had befriended numerous celebrities and politicians -- including Donald Trump and Bill Clinton -- faced up to 45 years in prison if he had remained alive and was convicted.

Prosecutors said Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teenagers, some as young as 14 years old, at his homes in New York, Palm Beach, and his private island in the Bahamas.

The last report of an attempted suicide by Epstein included a claim that a fellow inmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, had attempted to murder him. Tartaglione on is currently awaiting trial on four charges of murder over a drug deal gone bad. He is a former police officer who was the constant target of criticism by a gadfly in Westchester County, NY named Clay Tiffany.

Recent reports included a claim that Tartaglione was threatened with execution by the US Attorney's office. Such an execution in the New York Southern District would be the first since the Rosenbergs were electrocuted in 1953. There was also a recent report that Tartaglione was found in possession of a cell phone in prison, which is illegal. These things have led to speculation that perhaps someone in power was attempting to use Tartaglione to kill Epstein.

Former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi wrote an article on Saturday where he speculated that Epstein was a spy for Israel in the United States working to protect Israeli interests.

“My belief that Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence agent is based principally on Acosta’s comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team,” Giraldi wrote.

“And there’s more. As a former intelligence officer myself, there is little doubt in my mind that what Epstein did and how he did it was an intelligence operation. There is no other viable explanation for his filming of prominent politicians and celebrities having sex with young girls. And as for the question of whom Epstein might have been working for, the most likely answer is Mossad,” he stated.

“The CIA would have had no interest in compiling dossiers on prominent Americans, but American movers and shakers like Bill Clinton, with his 26 trips on the Lolita Express, former Governor Bill Richardson, or former Senator George Mitchell are precisely the types of ‘agents of influence’ that the Mossad would seek to coerce or even blackmail into cooperation,” he noted.

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