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epstein case

William Barr asks inspector general to open investigation into Jeffrey Epstein's death

The FBI is investigating the death by suicide of millionaire financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General is expected to follow suit.

Epstein reportedly hanged himself in a Manhattan jail and was found dead on Saturday morning. "Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Attorney General William Barr said. He also said he asked his department's Inspector General to open an investigation into what happened.

Epstein was placed on suicide watch on July 23 after he was found unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck, but he was removed from suicide watch less than a week later. The authorities did not immediately explain why. A federal prison official told The New York Times that it would have been extremely difficult for Epstein to harm himself if he was still under watch based on the lengths prisons go to to prevent inmates from attempting to do so.

A person familiar with the matter did tell The Washington Post that Epstein showed no obvious signs of distress at a July 31 court hearing and had been meeting with his lawyers for up to 12 hours a day to discuss his case in recent weeks. People close to Epstein also reportedly said he seemed to be in good spirits of late, perhaps shedding some light on why he was removed from suicide watch.

The FBI said the agency does not have "an indication" of foul play.

The 66-year-old Epstein was charged last month with sex trafficking minors and faced up to 45 years in prison. Read more at The Washington Post and The New York Times.