As more details emerge regarding the death of alleged Jeffrey Epstein accomplice Jean-Luc Brunel, there are seemingly more outstanding questions than answers.
According to the Miami Herald, Brunel was found dead in a French jail cell on Saturday. His manner of death was ruled a suicide.
The incident quickly drew comparisons to the death of Epstein himself, who was found hanged in his New York prison cell in August 2019. But the similarities don’t stop there.
BREAKING: Jeffrey Epstein associate Jean Luc-Brunel found dead in cell https://t.co/QJeYHoPjoo
— The Independent (@Independent) February 19, 2022
In December 2020, Brunel was arrested and charged with rape and sex trafficking. Since then, one of his lawyers, Mathias Chichportich, confirmed to the Herald that Brunel made “several suicide attempts.”
In Epstein’s case, he made a suicide attempt just three weeks before his death, The New York Times reported. He was placed on suicide watch and received daily psychiatric evaluations after that incident.
However, for reasons that were never provided, Epstein was taken off the suicide watch list on July 29, 2019. Six days later, he was found dead.
While France does have something called “emergency protection” that is comparable to suicide watch in the United States, it is used much more sparingly.
Should there have been a camera in this cell?
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According to the Herald, a prisoner deemed at risk to harm themselves would be placed in a cell with rounded walls, paper clothes and tearable bed sheets. Prisoners can only stay in those cells for up to 24 hours, after which time they would be transferred to a mental health institution.
While it is unclear whether Brunel’s mental state qualified him for admission into such an institution, it seems that a man with a track record of suicide attempts should have been under much more strict surveillance.
To make matters worse, the Herald reported no cameras recorded the incident. Brunel was simply found dead at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning in Paris.
Brunel was being held in a portion of the prison known as the “vulnerable people area” for prisoners who could be at risk of facing violence. The Herald reported this treatment is common for crimes of this nature.
While in this section, guards are supposed to check on inmates between four and six times every night. However, that obviously leaves big chunks of time where no one is watching the prisoners.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Brunel was being held in La Sante Prison, one of the highest security facilities in France. The fact that this prison did not have cameras recording the cells of their most vulnerable inmates is inexplicable.
Spencer Kuvin, who has served as a lawyer for multiple Epstein victims, suggested Brunel’s own guilt may have caused him to snap.
“It almost seems like the entire ring of people who were doing this that their conscience is getting the better of them now that they are being held accountable for their actions,” Kuvin said, according to the Herald.
“Of course, the alternative conspiracy theory is that it’s like someone is trying to clean up shop.”
While Brunel’s death does ensure he will not be able to victimize any more women, alleged victim Thysia Huisman said it hardly provided her with peace of mind.
“It makes me angry because I’ve been fighting for years,” Huisman told the Associated Press.
“For me, the end of this was to be in court. And now that whole ending — which would help form closure — is taken away from me.”