An autopsy found that J. Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, deepening the mystery about the circumstances around his death.
Meanwhile, J. Epstein’s bodyguard gave a pretty unconfortable telefon interview to a Newsweek’s reporter. Can you make the dot?
Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation.
Broken Bones in Epstein’s Neck Deepens Mystery of His Death
The details are the first findings to emerge from the autopsy of Epstein, a convicted sex offender and multimillionaire in federal custody on charges of sex trafficking.
The details also add to the bizarre circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death, which have launched a wave of questions and conspiracy theories about how he could have died in federal custody.
As reported by the Washington Post:
The revelation of Epstein’s neck injuries follows reports that officers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center broke protocol and failed to properly monitor him.
Corrections officers had not checked on Epstein for “several” hours before he was found hanging in his cell, a person familiar with the matter said, one of a series of missteps in the hours leading up to his death.
Veteran prosecutors and law enforcement officials were shocked that one of the most high-profile inmates in the country wasn’t more carefully watched. Barr said over the weekend he was “appalled” at serious “irregularities” in jail protocol, and he later transferred the warden to another facility.
People familiar with the autopsy, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitive stage of the investigation, said Sampson’s office is seeking additional information on Epstein’s condition in the hours before his death. That could include video evidence of the jail hallways, which may establish whether anyone entered Epstein’s cell during the night he died; results of a toxicology screening to determine if there was any unusual substance in his body; and interviews with guards and inmates who were near his cell.
Jonathan L. Arden, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, said a hyoid can be broken in many circumstances but is more commonly associated with homicidal strangulation than suicidal hanging.
Arden, who was not involved in the Epstein autopsy, said that in general, a finding of a broken hyoid requires pathologists to conduct more extensive investigation. That investigation can include analysis of the location of the noose, how narrow the noose is, and if the body experienced any substantial drop in the course of the hanging.
The age of the deceased is also important, Arden said. The hyoid starts out as three small bones with joint-like connections but hardens during middle age into a U-shape that can break more easily.
“If, hypothetically, the hyoid bone is broken, that would generally raise questions about strangulation, but it is not definitive and does not exclude suicidal hanging,” he said.
A handful of studies conducted over the past decade have produced conflicting results about the likelihood of a hyoid break in a suicide. In a study of 20 suicidal hangings in Thailand, published in 2010, one-fourth of the men who hanged themselves had broken hyoids. In a larger study of suicidal hangings of young adults and middle-aged people in India, conducted from 2010 to 2013, hyoid damage was found in just 16 of 264 cases, or 6 percent. The study addressed the discrepancies in academic reviews, saying wide variations in findings of hyoid breaks are “possibly due to factors like age of the victim, weight of the victim, type of suspension and height of suspension.”
Hyoid fractures have previously sparked controversy in jailhouse and other contentious deaths.
In 2008, Ronnie L. White, a teenager accused of killing a police officer, died of an apparent suicide in a suburban Washington jail cell. But two days later, the cause of death was changed to homicide when a Maryland state medical examiner discovered the teen had a broken hyoid.
The incident fanned racial tension and fueled conspiracy theories about the suspect’s death in Prince George’s County, Md.
Medical examiners concluded White was probably strangled with a sheet, towel or “crux of the elbow.” The officer who moved his body pleaded guilty to obstruction. But no one was ever charged in White’s death. A federal judge said in 2013 that it remained a mystery whether the inmate was slain or took his own life.
The hyoid bone played a central role in a heated dispute last year over another high-profile death in New York, that of Eric Garner. A New York police officer was accused of using an improper chokehold while trying to arrest Garner and of causing his death. A police officers’ association claimed that an autopsy from Sampson’s office found there was no break of Garner’s hyoid bone, and that this proved that the officer could not have strangled Garner and caused his death.
This “demonstrates conclusively that Mr. Garner did not die of strangulation of the neck from a chokehold,” the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association said.
But Sampson rejected that claim, saying she stood by her conclusion that Garner died of “compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police.” Sampson’s office said Garner’s bronchial asthma, obesity and high blood pressure were contributing factors.
Two weeks later, Sampson’s office concluded the officer’s actions were the primary cause of his death.
Jeffrey Epstein’s Bodyguard Speaks About His Former Boss’s Lifestyle, Cruelty, Suicide
The mysterious Russian MMA fighter drew some attention from the media after Epstein’s arrest and indictment by federal authorities last month — but he has not made it easy for reporters to find him. There have been — so far as we can determine — no published or broadcast interviews with Zinoviev about his relationship with Epstein.
This telefon interview happened on August 12, 2019. He talked about his response to Epstein’s apparent suicide and his memories of working for the man. A good chunk of the half-hour conversation involved revisiting things he had told me four years ago. To be honest, I didn’t expect that he’d try to back away from the assertions he made in our original interview — but he did. He also seemed, it is safe to say, quite nervous about saying anything at all.
As reported in Intelligencer:
Last time we talked, I didn’t realize you were an MMA fighter.
That’s okay. Oh, yeah.
You were Jeffrey Epstein’s driver? You weren’t just his bodyguard and trainer?
Just going back, how did he find you?
Well, it’s just going back. A friend of mine introduced me to him. Basically, as a friend, you know? After that, he asked me to work with him. But honestly I had a pretty good job, so I’m not looking at any jobs — then he called me and asked if I could [do] some stuff. Like do his driver, do like bodyguarding, and just train him and do other stuff. And I thought, Just time to change something! I said, “I could do that.”
What year was this?
I can’t remember, to be honest. I would have to look at the paper. I would have to look at the papers for that.
By this time, you had stopped competing as an MMA fighter?
Not really, actually.
You were still competing?
Yes, maybe I stop already. Maybe I stop already, yeah. I was in the Virgin Islands. In Palm Beach, it was, I started working in Palm Beach. I would see him only when, um — where the fuck it is? — um, when he has to go to big jail, actually.
That’s when he was at Palm Beach. The first time. I start before working with him in New York and the Virgin Islands.
You were in New York also?
You drove him in all three places?
In New York, I didn’t drive him. In New York, he had a driver, whatever his name was. He was like old family. I was just training with him in New York and travel with him. And I just drove him here in Palm Beach. Because other places he had different drivers. They’re just personnel, you know, who just drive him. Somebody drive him in New Mexico. Somebody drive him in Virgin Islands, actually. I just drove him here in Palm Beach.
You went with him to all the other properties? Did you go with him to New Mexico also?
You worked with him and traveled with him 24/7 — so that means you were on his plane with him, correct?
You lived in his guest house?
You lived alone in the guest house?
Of course. In Palm Beach — when we stay at Palm Beach, we have a guest house, and there’s a property manager who lived there. He was working there before me. It was a Polish guy, yeah.
Did he have bodyguard abilities like you?
You were introduced to Epstein by a middleman? So how was it when you first met him?
Pretty good. I never heard anything from him that, let’s say, was unproper or rude or something. He was always polite. Always a nice person, basically. He’s always smiling.
When you first talked to him, did he ask you anything about your skills? Or say what he wanted?
No, I think he already knows that. They probably have reserved people who just check my background and everything. He asked something, and I give him some simple questions: “How I do?” and “How I’m training?” and all other things.
What would you teach him?
Basic workout. Lift weights. And a little practicing some self-defense stuff.
Like boxing and kicking, knees.
Was he a good athlete?
He’s in pretty good shape. It was how I remember. He’s not the best. But he did all right.
You told me last time we talked you would plan to have a workout but often he would fail to show up and that annoyed you.
He worked out, but sometimes probably a business meeting or something else. It was like I wasted a long time in the gym. He kept me waiting a couple hours — like four hours.
What were some of the places that you drove him to?
I mean, when I used to work here in Palm Beach? Just business meeting, basically. It was mostly downtown, near lawyer’s office. I drop him there and he go upstairs and I waiting in the car.
Ever talk about his case? Why he was in trouble?
No. He never talked about that stuff.
Never talked about any of that stuff?
In our conversation in 2015, you described his relationship with teenage girlfriends: “So many time I tried to stop him. I try to tell tell him my opinion about that. He don’t listen to me. That’s the reason why I’m not working for him no more. I make him do that — to let me go.” Do you remember saying that?
It’s not the teenage girls. I never see the teenage girls. I tell you I never see teenage girls.
Plenty of times when I work for him I never see anything unproper or teenage girls around him.
That’s what I say.
So now you say you only saw him with women? Older than 18? 20?
All what I say he has always been with girlfriends and therewas a couple girls — I don’t remember their names. She was 25 and worked for him as assistant. Maybe 25 or 23 — whatever, I don’t know the age.
Okay. But you definitely told me that last time we talked.
No, no. It’s not that. He working like work-release on other stuff. And I just tell him, you know, he would order his girlfriends around, and I told him, “Calm down.” It’s not just teenage girls.
I never see teenage girls in my life at his house. That’s what it is. That’s a misunderstanding. Completely. That’s because — that’s what I’m saying. Most of the time with reporters they give me that kind of questions. “Who told you I see the teenage girls?” I never see the teenage girls in my life. And they said I was —
Here’s another thing you said last time about Epstein and the girls you saw at his house — specifically about moments when you were trying to offer him advice about his conduct: “Sometimes he tries to make a joke. He’d say, ‘Thank you, Grandma. I don’t need your opinion.’ So when you tried to do something good, he would try to make a joke in front of his girls. I never give anyone any questions. It’s one of my rules actually. I be honest with you. I never ask any of my clients what they do for a living or how they do whatever they do. I just do my job, and that’s it.”Do you remember saying that?
Yes, that’s what I say. I feel like the cops watching me whenever he’s on work release — I tell him, “Don’t do stupid stuff.” Like, “[Don’t] put your girlfriend in the car and drive together.
Don’t! Watch it out — all the extra attention.”
Epstein made fun of you in front of the girls, right?
Yeah. Yeah, that was his thing, yeah.
You said you never ask your employers questions.
Yeah. That’s normal answer. People like him just do whatever he wants to do. Because like people talking and just — they already have some release and I understand and just read some papers about his like, whatever, “teenage girls.” But that was [how] he answers. That’s it. So I don’t know.
Here’s another quote from our last interview:“He had a couple girlfriends. They have no idea the degree of what they are doing. But you can’t tell nothing to them. Because they support him kind of. For the while, this one girl can be more attached to him, he just fire her. Fire them and keep them away. For example, I give you some idea: You have private plane and you have three girlfriends and one girl can be more attached to him. And next week — he don’t take that girl. He takes another one, and he just switch them. He brings them on a couple trips and then get different girls. That’s what he doing.”Remember that?
Kind of not!
Wait a minute. Wait a minute.
I understand this is sensitive —
It’s not sensitive — it’s just — kind of a little uncorrect.
It’s exactly what you said. I can send it to you. Here’s something else you said: “It could be tricky you know. Normally he always checks his newspapers — ‘Nothing about me?’ I say, ‘No!’ He say, ‘They forget about me?’” And when I mentioned Epstein was being exposed for messing with teenage girls, you said: “I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised how low he can be outside the real world. Someday is going to call him and it will be real jail. He have so much money he can pay it off. Me personally, if I caught him with my daughter or something do that — I’m not going to go to police. I do something else. Much worse. That guy could try to sue me and manipulate the situation with his money. That’s the American way. I know he screwed up a lot of fashion girls also. That’s a different story. [Laughs.]”Do you remember saying that?
I remember one thing: I say like, “If I be the father and somebody screw up my daughter, I don’t give shit with how much money he have. I definitely do some bad thing.” That’s what I said. Before that stuff, I don’t know. I’m just really like —
Igor, I’m not making stuff up. I was very careful.
I’m really careful, too.
It was four years ago. You may not remember what you told me. I kept very good notes of what you and I said. It must come across as very harsh. But it’s the truth. I’m happy to understand a little better. He’s not alive. You don’t have anything to be afraid of anymore.
I’m not afraid. Beyond that just he is dead. I don’t want anything to be uncorrect. There’s too much shit in here, you know, already. He’s dead and just like, freaking people, just leave him alone.
Hold on. When did you find out he died?
Saturday or Sunday or whenever.
What did you think when you found that out?
What did I think?
Are you sure you want to hear what I am going to think?
Somebody helped him to do that.
You think somebody helped him kill himself?
Listen, you know, that’s going a little too deep.
I mean, I’m just trying to understand that maybe you’d be happy he was dead or you would be upset. I don’t know. Are you even feeling anything?
I’m not sad. I mean, I didn’t have anything against him, like a bad thing, you know? I don’t care about his life completely. I don’t give a, let’s say, like, crap about how he die, how he live, or how he’s managed.
How many years did you live at his house?
Five or six years. In Palm Beach.
That’s a long time.
You don’t have any emotion after learning he’s dead?
Did you think that would happen to him?
It’s unexpectable. Well —
I realize others tried to talk to you. Did he ever offer money? Did anybody ever try to silence you?
Epstein never tried to get people to give you money — I wonder what he was capable of doing since he settled a lot of lawsuits —
Nobody ever wanted to offer me money. I don’t care about money. I want everybody to just leave me alone. Just one thing: When somebody from newspapers write, and from everywhere call you, me, “Red Army fucking commando.” What that mean exactly?
If it’s untrue, that would be over-the-top.
That’s terrible. So after that, they call me “mobster”!
Okay. I didn’t know that.
I’m standing with girls. The girls just looking at me, and the girls get scared. So I don’t know if you want to get me to say something and I don’t want to — I want to deal with no one.
I get that. But you and I have a history at this point. One thing you told me, for instance — okay, one thing you told me is he got a heads up when the authorities were going to come to his house the night before.
Listen, what you say is between you and me —
You told me he would get phone calls the night before and eight o’clock the police are going to come. He would get a heads up from local police.
You told me that, Igor. Want me to read the quote?
Well, you can read whatever you want right now. Don’t just — you can put yourself in big trouble.
You said: “He always do something wrong. There was some nights in question. There was at home arrest and police, before they come to the house, they call him and tell him they coming in at eight o’clock in the morning. It’s all corruption you know. It’s all bullshit.”
Listen, don’t put yourself in trouble. Seriously.
We talked about this.
I understand we got this.
I’m telling you to give you a chance to remember because we talked about this stuff. I know it’s hard. I don’t know what you mean about “put myself in trouble.”
Let that go. Seriously. Let that go.
Why is it so important? Are you worried about the local cops?
Listen, you’re really smart and I’m not going to offer that over the phone right now, okay? You’re really smart. You have no idea. Please!
What do you mean by that?
I can’t explain you. I can’t explain you over the phone any of this.
You said that last time. And we didn’t talk for years. You can tell the world who this guy was. You were with him for a long time. You know what I mean?
I totally understand that you think he could have had help committing suicide.
First of all, I have to go right now. I have another client.
Still training people?
Yes. But just be careful. I’m not kidding.
What’s your email so I can send you —
Don’t do any kind of that stuff. Just don’t play it. Seriously.
Can you tell me why?
I can’t. I can’t.
May I ask you one more question?
Have you been talking to anyone in the government, the FBI? Have they come to you?
[Long pause] Um. Great talking to you. Seriously. We talk later.
A pretty weird interview with Epstein’s bodyguard… Isn’t?
- Autopsy: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/autopsy-finds-broken-bones-in-jeffrey-epsteins-neck-deepening-questions-around-his-death/ar-AAFPxjP
- Interview: http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/08/jeffrey-epsteins-bodyguard-igor-zinoviev-on-his-old-boss.html