On Sunday, 60 Minutes gave the public its first look inside the Manhattan jail cell where Jeffrey Epstein reportedly killed himself last year. 60 Minutes published the photos taken inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, along with photos taken during Epstein’s autopsy, at the conclusion of a five-month investigation. The photos show a chaotic scene inside the cell, where at least two nooses made from orange bed sheets were found. As is the case with much of the reporting around Epstein’s death, the story raised more questions than it answered.
Here are five takeaways from the 60 Minutes report:
Noose may not match official account of Epstein’s death
Photos from inside Epstein’s cell show a cluttered mess of orange bed sheets strewn across mattresses and the floor. There’s a bit of sheet hanging from a grate on the window, and other pieces are tied to Epstein’s bed.
Two nooses were photographed in the cell and one was taken into evidence, presumably because it was thought to be the noose Epstein used to kill himself. But there’s some doubt about whether the noose is the one Epstein used in his suicide. The guard who found Epstein reportedly cut him down, and the noose taken into evidence has two hemmed edges. Another noose photographed in Epstein’s cell looks to have frayed edges, though.
Epstein had dangerous objects in his cell
Dr. Michael Baden, the forensic pathologist hired by Epstein’s brother Mark, told 60 Minutes what he’s been telling the media for months: that the evidence released so far points “much more to murder and strangulation than suicide.”
He raised doubts about why Epstein would have hanged himself with a sheet when there was a sleep-apnea machine, with an electrical cord, in his cell. Epstein also at one point had a ballpoint pen, which Baden said would never have been given to someone considered suicidal.
Epstein left a note
It’s not a suicide letter, but there was a note found in Epstein’s cell after his death. It included complaints about the jail conditions.
The first word on the note, as shown on 60 Minutes, is blurred out. But CBS News suggests it’s the name of a guard, who Epstein writes, “kept me in a locked shower stall for 1 hour.” The next line references Tova Noel, one of the guards on duty the night Epstein killed himself. “Noel sent me burnt food,” it says. “Giant bugs crawling over my hands. No fun!!”
Concerns about how Epstein’s body was handled
Baden told 60 Minutes about two problems he has with how Epstein’s body was handled in the immediate aftermath of his death. First, Epstein’s body was taken to an emergency room. “That’s not normal protocol,” he said. Baden, along with other forensic pathologists, also told 60 Minutes that Epstein’s body should have been photographed as it was found, which would provide essential clues about how he died.
New questions about the wound on Epstein’s neck
Baden revived the hyoid-bone theory that he talked about on Fox News last October. As he sees it, Epstein’s broken neck bone is much more consistent with murder than suicide. Experts have pushed back against that claim since Baden first made it. And the New York City medical examiner, who has concluded that Epstein killed himself by hanging, disputed Baden’s theory.
On Sunday night, Baden also raised a new concern about Epstein’s wounds: He suggested that the placement of the marks on Epstein’s neck is not consistent with most hangings, which result in marks just beneath the jawbone. “Dr. Baden says a wound straight across the neck is more common when a victim is strangled by a wire or a cord,” 60 Minutes’s Sharyn Alfonsi said in the report.
Questions have been raised about Baden’s credibility and the fact that he’s been hired by Epstein’s brother. Asked about concerns over his impartiality, given his position on the Epstein family payroll, Baden told 60 Minutes, “That’s a reasonable thing for some people to think.”