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(UPDATE: EPSTEIN'S DEATH HAS BEEN RULED A SUICIDE.)
The list of people who would have wanted sex-trafficking financier Jeffrey Epstein dead is long, so the revelation that he may have been strangled because of multiple breaks in his neck bones and did not hang himself comes as no surprise. Nor is it surprising that such a thing could happen in a federal detention facility run by an attorney general who bows to Donald Trump's every whim and wish. Just like in Vladimir Putin's Russia, where the list of murdered, disappeared and seemingly suicided enemies of the state is depressingly long.
Once upon a time, to make such a statement would have seemed to be outrageously beyond the pale, but then there has never been a president who would accuse a former president and his secretary of state wife of having had Epstein murdered.
I am not suggesting that AG William Barr had a hand in setting up Epstein's death in the early morning hours of August 10 in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center to look like a suicide.
But mysteries abound, among them:
Why Epstein's guards slept, reportedly failing to make the required 30-minute check-ins on him, and prison logs were doctored to cover this up.
Why he had been taken off a suicide watch despite a July 23 hanging attempt and returned to the prison's segregated housing unit.
Why he was alone in his cell although it is standard procedure to house prisoners considered to be a threat to kill themselves with a roommate.
Epstein's typically underage victims say they were pushed to have sex with his wealthy, powerful and sometimes celebrity friends.
What we have here are the earmarks of a murder possibly carried out on the orders of one of those friends who desperately needed Epstein to take his knowledge of the secrets of that individual's involvement to the grave.
In other words, someone who had the motive and the means, with the feds providing the opportunity.
An autopsy found that Epstein, 66, who apparently was found hanging with a bedsheet around his neck and secured to the top of a bunk bed, suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones. Among the broken bones was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam's apple. While such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, according to forensics experts.
Asked about the neck injuries, New York City chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement that no single factor in an autopsy can alone provide a conclusive answer about what happened, and for the time being she is listing the cause of death as "pending."
Sampson’s office is seeking additional information on Epstein’s condition in the hours before his death.
That could include video evidence of prison hallways, which may establish whether anyone entered Epstein's cell before he died, results of a toxicology screening to determine if there was any unusual substance in his body, and interviews with guards and inmates.