Politicians attacked over Epstein conspiracy theories

Monday, August 12, 2019

Politicians in the UK and US are being criticised for giving weight to conspiracy theories surrounding the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein.

The financier had pleaded not guilty to federal charges of sex trafficking before he was found dead in his cell on Saturday.

Conspiracy theories published on social media have suggested his death may not have been suicide.

Donald Trump retweeted a post by comedian Terrence Williams that questioned how he could have taken his own life while on suicide watch:

Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shared a New York Times article about Epstein's death and said: “We need answers. Lots of them.”

She also retweeted a post by journalist Stephanie Ruhle who said: "Important to remember... Epstein’s universe was NOT partisan. It ranges across the some most powerful people in the world - royals, corporate leaders, politicians, wall street giants, scientists, academics & socialites."

Labour MP David Lammy shared the same article and tweeted: “How convenient for the powerful and the rich who procured his horrendous services.”

In an article for Spiked Online journalist Brendan O'Neil criticised the conspiracy theories as "hysteria".

"There is not a shred of evidence that Bill and Hillary Clinton had Jeffrey Epstein murdered. Nothing," he wrote.

"No confession from a hitman. No secretly recorded phone chats between the Clintons’ people and the Manhattan prison authorities who… did what, exactly? Let a murderer into Epstein’s jail cell?

"Let Epstein kill himself without intervening? Poisoned his food at Hillary’s behest? And yet the dearth of evidence hasn’t stopped this harebrained conspiracy theory from spreading like a pox across the internet since Epstein’s suicide. You couldn’t have asked for better proof that we have entered an age of hysteria."

The details of how Epstein died have yet to be confirmed, but medical officials have performed a post-mortem examination.

American journalist Alan Friedman told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer that the idea that Epstein was murdered in prison was “a bit of a leap” but he questioned how a suicide could have been allowed to happen.

“There is no explanation for why a man who tried to commit suicide on Jul 23 just recently in prison was not on suicide watch and why the guards seemed to be missing,” he said.

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