Wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein was found injured on the floor of his cell early this week in the federal jail where he is awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, a person familiar with the episode told The Associated Press on Thursday.
It wasn’t clear whether bruising on the 66-year-old’s neck was self-inflicted or from an assault, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the case and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Epstein was treated and remains in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City.
There was no immediate response from jail officials and one of Epstein’s lawyers.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center, where Epstein is being held, is famous for stringent security and high-profile prisoners, which have included terrorists, Wall Street schemers and, until recently, the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
Epstein has been accused of sexually abusing dozens of underage girls in the early 2000s. He has pleaded not guilty.
A judge denied bail to Epstein after a hearing last week, ruling that he might flee the country if he was released. The judge also said Epstein posed a danger to the public because of his “uncontrollable” urges to engage in sexual conduct with underage girls.
Epstein pleaded guilty in Florida in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in a deal that ended a federal investigation involving many teenage girls who said they had been sexually abused.
He was sentenced to 13 months in jail but was allowed to leave the county stockade on most days and spend the day in his private office. After his release, he registered as a sex offender.
Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reports in the Miami Herald sparked outrage over the original plea bargain.
Epstein was indicted on new federal charges this month. Epstein’s lawyers say he hasn’t had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his jail sentence in Florida. They also say the current charges are improper because the federal government is reneging on the deal not to prosecute him.
U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta resigned after coming under renewed criticism for overseeing that deal when he was U.S. attorney in Miami.
Tom Hays, The Associated Press