Monday, February 21, 2022

REPORT: Former Epstein Model Agent Jean-Luc Brunel Found Dead in Prison

Source: Le Parisien

Published: February 19, 2022

By: Zoe Lauwereys, Jérémie Pham-Lê, and Nicolas Jacquard

Former modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel was found dead in custody, sources close to the case say. The 74-year-old Frenchman, alleged tout of young girls for the benefit of Jeffrey Epstein, the now deceased American billionaire, was indicted in December 2020 for "rape of minors" and "sexual harassment".

The suspect had also been placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness for acts of "aggravated human trafficking to the detriment of minor victims for the purpose of sexual exploitation".

According to our information, the septuagenarian was found dead by hanging last night in his cell in the Paris prison of Health. He was found around 1 a.m. during the night patrol. He could not be revived, said a prison source.

An investigation to find the causes of death opened

The Paris prosecutor's office confirmed that Jean-Brunel had been found dead and indicated that an investigation into the causes of death had been opened, entrusted to the 3rd judicial police district. His death means the extinction of public action in this case, unless other people were to be implicated.

“According to the first elements available to us, no breach was noted on the side of the agents who were on duty that night”, explains Erwan Saoudi, delegate of the prison FO union for Ile-de-France. The union wants proof that the intervention occurred around one o'clock, and that Brunel's body was not found in the early morning. “This shows that this inmate was determined to take action. All rounds have been completed. On average, there are four to six in the night at the level of the vulnerable people district (QPV), the one where Brunel was imprisoned. He chose to commit his gesture between two rounds. First aid couldn't do anything. It is certain that he was then alone in the cell. »

Jean-Luc Brunel did not benefit from an emergency protection unit (Cprou). These cells specially designed to prevent the risk of suicide, where the detainee is dressed in paper clothes and tearable sheets, are reserved for detainees in crisis whose suicide risk is imminent.

“His decision was not guided by guilt but by a deep sense of injustice”

“His distress was that of a 75-year-old man crushed by a media-judicial system on which it would be time to question himself”, estimate his lawyers Me Mathias Chichportich, Me Marianne Abgrall and Me Christophe Ingrain. “Jean-Luc Brunel has never ceased to proclaim his innocence. He multiplied his efforts to prove it. A judge released him a few months ago and then he was reincarcerated in appalling conditions. His decision was not guided by guilt but by a deep sense of injustice. »

For several of the complainants, it's a crushing blow, says their lawyer. "It's very complicated for them. They are collapsed. They have trouble verbalizing. It is not easy to find the right words in such circumstances, deplores Me Anne-Claire Lejeune. I have to force myself not to agree with them when they tell me that they have come all this way for nothing…”

“If they resolved to seek justice, it was also on behalf of those who could not do so”

Anne-Claire Lejeune adds: “We don't realize what it means to them. All these hearings before psychologists, the police or the examining magistrates have psychological repercussions. For many of them, if they resolved to seek justice, it was also on behalf of those who could not do so. »

His name was cited in an investigation in the United States into the sex scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein, also found dead in his cell in August 2019.

Jean-Luc Brunel was arrested in December 2020 at Charles-de-Gaulle airport as he was about to take a flight to Dakar, and was imprisoned following his indictment . He had been released under judicial supervision for a few days last November, before being returned to detention by decision of the investigating chamber of the Paris Court of Appeal. He had lodged an appeal in cassation against this judgment.

Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein was charged in July 2019 in the United States for having organized, between 2002 and 2005, a network of young girls whom he allegedly sexually exploited. The Paris prosecutor's office, alerted by the potential existence of French minors among the victims of Jeffrey Epstein, had opened a preliminary investigation in August 2019.

A complaint was filed two months later against Jean-Luc Brunel for acts of "sexual harassment" which were not time-barred, contrary to several charges against him. According to concordant sources, the Central Office for the Suppression of Personal Violence (OCRVP), in charge of the investigation, had carried out more than half a thousand hearings.

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