On August 10, Jeffrey Epstein, accused sex trafficker, financier, was found dead of an apparent suicide at a Manhattan jail. Julia Macfarlane announced, “Breaking: Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide overnight at MCC Manhattan, the federal lockup where he had been held pending trial on federal sex trafficking charges, three law enforcement officials told @ABC News.”
As more and more news outlets reported on Epstein’s suicide, there were numerous questions as to how this could’ve happened in the first place. The 66-year-old was already under suicide watch following a previous attempt to take his own life last month, so after discovering on Saturday that Epstein had somehow been removed from suicide watch, U.S. Attorney General William Barr decided to launch an investigation into the alleged suicide.
Barr put out the following official statement on Saturday, “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. 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.”
While it was once thought that Barr would be recusing himself from having oversight on the Epstein prosecution, on July 9, it was clarified that Barr consulted with career ethics officials at the department, and concluded that he only needed to recuse himself from the internal Justice Department probe of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, and his involvement of approving a highly controversial no-prosecution deal with Epstein back in the 2008.
Barr did not recuse himself from Epstein’s current prosecution in Manhattan, and is now instructing the Department of Justice’s inspector general to open a probe into the disgraced financier’s death. Before Epstein’s alleged suicide, he was facing 45 years in prison if convicted of conspiracy and sex trafficking dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida.
There is concern over William Barr’s involvement in Epstein’s case, not only for the way he handled Robert Mueller’s testimony over the Russian probe, but because of his personal ties with Epstein himself.
Barr Worked at the Law Firm which Represented Epstein in 2008
In 2009, Barr joined the law firm Kirkland & Ellis, the same law firm that represented Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 which ended in a no-prosecution. During Barr’s confirmation hearing in January, when Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse asked Barr whether he would conduct a “full and thorough investigation” into the Justice Department’s handling of Epstein’s case, Barr responded, “Senator, I have to recuse myself from Kirkland & Ellis matters, I am told. And I think Kirkland & Ellis was may be involved in that case, so I need to sort out exactly what my role can be. I will say that if I’m confirmed I’ll make sure your questions are answered on this case.”
On July 8, Barr made his final comments on the matter and said, “I am recused from that matter because one of the law firms that represented Epstein long ago was a firm I subsequently joined for a period of time.” Back in 2007, Epstein pleaded guilty to a state charge of soliciting sex and prostitution with an underaged girl, was sentenced to to 13 months incarceration, but spent a bulk of that time on work release or in the jail’s private wing.
The deal was made between Acosta, who previously worked at Kirkland & Ellis, and was the Miami U.S. attorney at the time, and Kirkland & Ellis senior partner Jay Lefkowitz, along with colleagues Kenneth Starr, Gerald Lefcourt, and Alan Dershowitz. Court records show Kirkland & Ellis continued to represented Epstein through 2011, while Barr worked at the firm.
William Barr’s Father Allegedly Hired Epstein in the 1970s
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI Assistant Director for counterintelligence said that Barr’s Father, Donald Barr, once hired Epstein to teach at Dalton School, a private academy in New York City. Back in 1973, even though Epstein had not obtained a college degree, Donald brought Epstein, who was only 20 years old, and had dropped out of both Cooper Union and New York University’s Courant Institute, was brought board to teach calculus and physics.
The young teacher appeared to be successful at Dalton. A 2003 profile by The New Yorker wrote of his teaching years, “he was something of a Robin Williams-in-Dead Poets Society type of figure, wowing his high-school classes with passionate mathematical riffs. So impressed was one Wall Street father of a student that he said to Epstein point-blank: “What are you doing teaching math at Dalton? You should be working on Wall Street — why don’t you give my friend Ace Greenberg a call.
After Epstein was dismissed from Dalton for “poor performance,” he left to work with Greenberg, who was a senior partner at Bear Stearns.
As reported by The New York Times, Donald Barr, who died in 2004, resigned from Dalton in 1974 after disagreements with the executive board. However, he stayed on throughout the rest of the year, which is when Epstein was hired.