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US attorney general says 'there will be accountability' in Epstein case

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US Attorney General William Barr

US Attorney General William Barr has said that authorities will "get to the bottom of what happened" to billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein who died on Saturday in a prison cell.

"There will be accountability," Barr said on Monday at the Fraternal Order of Police's 64th biennial conference. "This case will continue on against anyone who is complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy."

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.

Barr said in a Saturday statement that he was "appalled" to learn of Epstein's death, and it raised serious questions of the circumstances.

“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 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.

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.

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