New documents detail weeks leading up to Jeffrey Epstein's death

Scripps News obtained nearly 4,000 pages of documents and spoke to Jeffrey Epstein's brother about what he calls a "cover-up."

New documents detail weeks leading up to Jeffrey Epstein's death
New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP

Disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein had gone weeks without sleep and complained of noise from toilets and a cellmate in the days leading up to his 2019 death from a reported suicide.  

That’s just one revelation in the documents Scripps News obtained under the Freedom of Information Act regarding Epstein’s death in a federal detention center while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. The New York Times was first to obtain the documents after they sued the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in 2021.

The nearly 4,000 pages of internal U.S. Bureau of Prison documents contain revelations ranging from the mundane — Epstein giving investment advice to fellow inmates — to almost surreal — officials speculating that Bureau of Prisons employees had been paid off to leak information to the right-wing news site Breitbart. 

Epstein’s brother says documents show Bureau of Prisons "cover-up"

For his part, Epstein's brother Mark Epstein has told Scripps News the documents provide further evidence that the Bureau of Prisons has misled the public about his brother's death. 

An official timeline included in the documents says that Mark Epstein was notified before word of the death was released to the press. Mark Epstein told Scripps News he learned of the death later that day from cable news. 

"[This] is just one more lie in the cover-up of Jeffrey's execution," he said.

Epstein complained to officials repeatedly about prison

The insomnia was related to persistent complaints from Epstein about his conditions — not being able to use a CPAP machine, the presence of gang members at the federal detention center in which he was held, even a lack of toilet paper. 

At one point, officials said in a psychologist’s note that Epstein claimed to be on the autism spectrum based on his similarity to Dustin Hoffman’s character in the movie "Rain Man."  

"He stated that he may have something on the Autism spectrum. He said in the movie 'Rain Man,' the person with autism had an aversion to noise. He stated he is also really good with numbers," an unidentified prison psychologist wrote. 

Through an attorney, Epstein complained about insufficient bathroom breaks, not being allowed to eat lunch while meeting with his attorneys and not being allowed to make phone calls. 

Meanwhile, after Epstein's death investigators found a returned, unopened letter Epstein had sent to Larry Nassar, the USA Gymnastics team doctor who is convicted of the serial sexual abuse of young female athletes. 

An email, purporting to be from a professor at Morgan State University, asked for Epstein to donate $5 million to create the "Jeffrey Epstein Chair for the Promotion of Women in Mathematics". 

That sender's identity was redacted by federal officials.