At another time in history, the indictment of two jail guards responsible for monitoring Jeffrey Epstein the night he killed himself might have served as an emphatic rebuttal to suspicions that the wealthy sex offender was actually murdered, the AP reports. Not in 2019. Conspiracy theories continued to flourish, even after prosecutors took pains to point out the ample evidence backing a medical examiner’s determination that Epstein hanged himself. Video surveillance confirmed, they said in a news release and an indictment, that nobody had entered the area where Epstein was locked in his cell. The locked door to the unit, they said, could only be opened remotely, and a second locked door could only by opened by correctional officers. Epstein had no roommate, they said, and had died alone. No matter.
Social media buzzed with "Epstein didn’t kill himself" memes, fueled by the financier’s past associations with Britain's Prince Andrew and US presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. "People aren't buying the suicide story," said one tweet. "Epstein is alive on a beach somewhere in the middle east," said another. Democrats and Republicans—and even Epstein’s family and his alleged victims—were united in skepticism that Epstein could have taken his own life. But Gloria Allred and forensic pathologist Michael Baden are fanning the conspiracy flames. "When there's already this kind of profound mistrust of the political system, of political institutions, of the media, any kind of official channel that seeks to overturn this belief is likely to be viewed with suspicion," a Chicago professor says. (See what Attorney General William Barr has to say.)