Aug. 16 (UPI) -- New York City's chief medical examiner determined Friday that Jeffrey Epstein died from hanging himself, disputing conspiracy theories that he was murdered in his jail cell because he had knowledge of sexual misdeeds by powerful people.
The 66-year-old financier faced charges of sex trafficking minor girls and potentially could have named high-profile people who had sex with the girls. He was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls from 2002 to 2005.
The autopsy confirms that Epstein killed himself in his jail cell Aug. 10. He was found the cell that morning and taken to a hospital, where he died.
Epstein previously was on suicide watch after he was found semiconscious in his cell with marks on his neck July 23. Former cellmate Nicholas Tartaglione was cleared of any wrongdoing for that incident. Epstein was removed from suicide watch after about a week.
"The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein's death including if necessary legal action to view the pivotal videos -- if they exist as they should -- of the area proximate to Mr. Epstein's cell during the time period leading to his death," they said.
The team had a world renowned forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, present at the autopsy.
"No one should die in jail," the attorneys said. "And no one, not Mr. Epstein who was presumed innocent and had violated no prison disciplinary rule, and not anyone should be imprisoned under the harsh, even medieval conditions at the MCC where Mr. Epstein spent his final hours. His safety was the responsibility of the MCC. It is indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocols.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said he was "appalled that Epstein died while in federal custody. He directed the FBI and Department of Justice to investigate "serious irregularities" at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan.
"Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr said in a statement.
The Justice Department already reassigned the warden at that jail, and two other employees were put on administrative leave.
Epstein's death sparked outrage because his many alleged victims won't get their day in court and others who were involved in the alleged sex trafficking ring won't get punished.