-

The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.

-

viewpoint

Investigate Jeffrey Epstein’s death

| Wednesday, November 6, 2019

We definitely landed on the moon. Lee Harvey Oswald killed former President John F. Kennedy. Area 51 has nothing to do with aliens — and they had nothing to do with building the pyramids. Most conspiracy theories, especially most of the famous ones, are false. They have been thoroughly discredited by science, history or just a rational look at the facts of a situation. Because of this, the term “conspiracy theory” has earned a negative connotation. They’re the sort of things advanced by flat-earthers, by people devoid of objectivity looking for an escape from reality.

But there’s nothing inherently negative about the word “conspiracy.” It’s just a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. It doesn’t have to be crazy. It could be something as common as a robbery or a corporation lying about pollution. And that’s the thing about conspiracy theories — sometimes, they end up being true.

Jeffrey Epstein, the infamous hedge fund manager and sex offender, was found dead in his New York cell by apparent suicide on Aug. 10. He was awaiting trial on charges of sex trafficking minors. His suicide came as a surprise for a number of reasons: Epstein was being held in the Special Housing Unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), designed for “high-profile prisoners who are at risk of violence from the general population, as well as for inmates who are a threat to others,” according to NBC News. He had been placed on suicide watch the week prior. But the night of his death, the cameras outside his cell mysteriously malfunctioned, and his body was found the next morning.

Epstein had a number of high-profile clients and associates who likely were not looking forward to his testimony. President Donald Trump stated they were good friends, going as far as to call him a “terrific guy.” U.S. Attorney General William Barr helped him obtain a plea deal during his 2007 trial. Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Epstein had been incredibly close since the 1990s. In fact, Virginia Roberts Giuffre alleges in court papers she was “paid £10,000 by Epstein … as a ‘reward’ for sleeping with the Duke in 2001.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton traveled with him in 2002 and 2003. So did Woody Allen, Kevin Spacey and Chris Tucker.

But despite these powerful associates who potentially stood to lose a great deal from his testimony, and despite the bizarre coincidences surrounding his time at the MCC, no serious inquiry into Epstein’s death was made. The idea that it was anything but suicide was promptly ignored — and rejected — as a conspiracy theory. On Oct. 30, however, a medical examiner and pathologist performed a second autopsy at the request of Epstein’s brother. Michael Baden is the former chief medical examiner for New York City. He has nearly 50 years of experience as a medical examiner, and during that time has performed over 20,000 autopsies. Baden also served as chairman of the Forensic Pathology Panel of the U.S. Congress Select Committee on Assassinations, which re-investigated the deaths of Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In short, he has perhaps the most impressive resume of any working pathologist.

In an Oct. 30 “Fox and Friends” interview, Baden noted that Epstein had three fractures in the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage. He went on to explain that such injuries are “very unusual for suicide and more indicative of strangulation — homicidal strangulation.” He added: “I’ve not seen in 50 years where that occurred in a suicidal hanging case,” concluding that “the evidence points to homicide rather than suicide.”

Barbara Sampson, the current chief medical examiner of New York, disputed Baden’s findings. “I stand firmly behind our determination of the cause and manner of death in this case,” she stated in a recent New York Times interview. Despite Sampson’s disagreement, Baden’s statements remain as yet another piece of the story that does not line up with the official narrative.

Epstein’s murder is, by definition, a conspiracy theory. But it’s one I believe in, too. I believe that any one of Epstein’s former associates — whether the famous politicians and actors, or one of his countless wealthy financier clients, had a hand in his death and wanted to make it appear a suicide. I don’t believe, however, that anything will come of it. Anyone powerful enough to have Epstein killed in the MCC is certainly powerful enough to keep that information concealed, or at the very least, dismissed as another wacky conspiracy theory.

Epstein’s testimony regarding his child sex trafficking ring could have put any number of people in jeopardy for participating in perhaps the most heinous of crimes. If his death was indeed murder, and an investigation is not reopened, the party responsible will continue to walk free — guilty now of two crimes and convicted of neither.

Many conspiracy theories are ridiculous, far-fetched, and unbelievable. But in the case of the death of Epstein, too much is at stake, and so few facts align, that the idea of his homicide cannot and must not be ignored. Sometimes, conspiracy theories are crazy. And sometimes, accepting the dominant narrative is even crazier.

Patrick McKelvey splits his time between being a college senior and pretending to be a screenwriter. He majors in American studies and classics, and will be working in market research in New York after graduating. If you can’t find him at the movies, he can be reached for comment at [email protected] or @PatKelves17 on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , ,

About Patrick McKelvey

Contact Patrick