New York City Medical Examiner Rebuffs 'Homicide' Assessment from Epstein Family Pathologist

New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson rejected an allegation from the Epstein family's pathologist that the late financier's death was a homicide, and not a suicide as Sampson had ruled in August.

"Our investigation concluded that the cause of Mr. Epstein's death was hanging and the manner of death was suicide. We stand by that determination," Sampson said in a written statement. "We continue to share information around the medical investigation with Mr. Epstein's family, their representatives, and their pathology consultant. The original medical investigation was thorough and complete. There is no reason for a second medical investigation by our office."

A former New York City medical examiner tapped by the brother of Jeffrey Epstein—a convicted sex offender accused of raping multiple underage girls, who was facing prosecution on new sex trafficking charges before his death in pre-trial detention—said Wednesday that "the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide."

Sampson had concluded in August that Epstein's death in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center was the product of suicide by hanging. But the Epstein family pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired to observe the autopsy, appeared to contradict these findings on Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

A number of irregularities around Epstein's high-profile death aroused immediate suspicion and provoked backlash from stakeholders in his prosecution who wanted to see the trial run its course.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Justice Department inspector general and the Bureau of Prisons all launched investigations into the circumstances of Epstein's death. Reports have suggested that multiple surveillance cameras outside Epstein's cell had been malfunctioning around the time of the incident. Additionally, regular protocols were not followed with guards skipping routine checks on Epstein.

Days before his death, Epstein was taken off suicide watch, the result of a prior suicide attempt, and placed in the Special Housing Unit, where he was subjected to less monitoring. This decision was especially controversial, and former prison officials criticized the move especially in light of Epstein's public status.

At a court hearing in August after his death, defense attorneys for Epstein told a federal judge that they possessed evidence of an incident "far more consistent with assault" than suicide.

Baden on Wednesday echoed these suspicions, claiming on Fox News that "on day one" during the autopsy, "there were findings that were unusual for suicidal hanging."

Just two days before he was found in his jail cell, Epstein signed a will that transferred his assets to the control of a trust whose beneficiaries are unknown. The document also named his brother Mark as his next of kin, which would entitle him to a share of Epstein's estate "if he had left no will."

One of the most well-known Epstein accusers, Virginia Giuffre, expressed her resolve to continue the push for accountability, mirroring statements by other alleged victims at the August court hearing in Lower Manhattan.

"The reckoning must not end [now], it must continue," she said.

This article has been updated to include a statement from the chief medical examiner and to correct an earlier headline.

Jeffrey Epstein
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman announces charges against Jeffery Epstein on July 8, 2019 in New York City. Stephanie Keith/Getty