MANHATTAN (AFP) — A forensic pathologist hired by Jeffrey Epstein's brother said Wednesday that evidence suggested the disgraced financier had not died by suicide in his jail cell but had been murdered.
Michael Baden contradicted the official verdict of suicide by hanging given by officials in August, saying Epstein's injuries were "more indicative of homicidal strangulation."
"I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide," Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who was present at the autopsy, told Fox News.
He said multiple fractures found in Epstein's neck — specifically the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage -- were "very unusual for suicide."
Epstein was found dead in New York's high-security Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10 as he awaited trial on allegations that he trafficked girls as young as 14 for sex.
New York's chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson ruled that he had killed himself, a verdict that has been disputed by Epstein's lawyers and his brother Mark.
Sampson said Wednesday she and her office stand by their ruling.
"The original medical investigation was thorough and complete. There is no reason for a second medical investigation by our office," she said in an email to AFP in response to Baden's assertion.
Epstein, 66, was a multi-millionaire hedge fund manager who hobnobbed with countless celebrities over the years, including Britain's Prince Andrew and US President Donald Trump.
His death fueled several conspiracy theories, mostly speculating that he had been murdered to stop him from revealing compromising information about some of his wealthy acquaintances.
Epstein was charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and another of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
He denied the charges but faced up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.
After his death dozens of women came forward to say they had been abused by him and several have sued his estate for damages.
Epstein was convicted in Florida in 2008 of paying young girls for massages but served just 13 months in jail under a secret plea deal struck with the then state prosecutor.
Baden was New York's chief medical examiner in the late 1970s and is a regular guest on Fox News.
© Agence France-Presse
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