Alleged Epstein Accomplice Found Dead in Paris Prison

Prison de la Santé in Paris, where Jean-Luc Brunel was found dead in his cell early Saturday. Photo: Betrand Guay/AFP via Getty Images

Jean-Luc Brunel, a French modeling agent who was a close associate and alleged accomplice of Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead, hanged in his cell in La Santé Prison in Paris early Saturday morning. Brunel, 75, had been held in custody for more than a year amid an ongoing investigation by French prosecutors into allegations he had raped, sexually assaulted, and sexually harassed multiple women and underage girls, as well as his suspected involvement in Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring.

Brunel, who was arrested in late 2020 as he tried to board a flight out of France, had denied all of the allegations against him, including that he had played any role in Epstein’s systematic abuse.

French authorities have not confirmed Brunel’s cause of death, which they say they are investigating. Now that he is dead, the investigations into his alleged crimes and links to Epstein’s sex-trafficking ring have come to an end — both closing another possible path to more information about Epstein’s crimes and network, as well as denying Brunel’s victims a chance at getting justice against him in court.

Epstein victim Virginia Roberts Giuffre has alleged that Brunel brought teenage girls to the U.S. using model visas and supplied them to Epstein for abuse. She also alleged that she had been forced to have sex with Brunel herself. Several former models have also come forward in recent years to allege that Brunel raped or sexually assaulted them.

Other allegations had been made against Brunel for decades. He was banned by the French agency Karin Models, which he once ran, in the late 1990s after multiple models accused him of sexual misconduct. As the Guardian notes, Brunel then founded a new agency in the U.S., MC2 Model Management, with funding provided by Epstein. Brunel and Epstein had become friends after being introduced to each other in the 1980s by Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of sex trafficking late last year for her role in Epstein’s ring.

Ghislaine Maxwell (L), Jeffrey Epstein (C), and Jean-Luc Brunel (R) seen together aboard a private plane in an undated photo released last year by U.S. prosecutors. Photo: Handout/SDNY

Former model Thysia Huisman, who alleges Brunel drugged and raped her in 1991 when she was 18, tweeted Saturday that she was “in shock” after hearing the news of his death. “It makes me angry, because I’ve been fighting for years,” she 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.”

“I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to face him in a final trial to hold him accountable, but gratified that I was able to testify in person last year to keep him in prison,” Giuffre tweeted on Saturday.

Brad Edwards, who represents multiple Epstein accusers, including Giuffre, told the Washington Post that Brunel was a coward, pointing to how it appeared Brunel had died by suicide in jail while awaiting trial, just as Epstein had. “Rather than be held accountable, he just checked out. They’re both very selfish people, so if the world isn’t going to be what they want it to be, then there’s no sense in living.”

Brunel’s death comes days after Giuffre accepted an undisclosed settlement to end her civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew, another Epstein associate, who she alleged she had been forced to have sex with when she was 17.

Epstein Associate Jean-Luc Brunel Found Dead in Paris Prison