Epstein associate accused of procuring women, rape found dead of hanging in prison

A former associate of the late Jeffrey Epstein who faced allegations of sex trafficking and rape was founded dead of hanging in his French jail cell on Saturday, authorities said.

Jean-Luc Brunel, 75, was a former Miami Beach-area modeling agent. He was accused of procuring women and girls for Epstein to abuse, and also faced allegations of raping minors, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I can confirm that Mr. Brunel was discovered at 1:30 a.m. last night dead in his cell. He was alone in the cell. According to the first findings, it is a suicide by hanging. An investigation in search of the causes of death is however opened,” Paris public prosecutor’s office spokesman Antoine Pesme told the Miami Herald.

His death comes less than two years after Epstein himself died in his own New York City jail cell in what authorities ruled a suicide. Epstein, a wealthy financier and convicted sex offender, was also facing sex-trafficking charges at the time of his death.

“And just like Epstein, Brunel had also attempted suicide earlier, the Herald and the French daily newspaper 20 Minutes have learned,” according to the Herald.

Citing French prosecutors, The Guardian reported Brunel’s death effectively ends the legal case against him.

Brunel, who claimed he was innocent, was jailed in 2020, released for a short time late last year, then quickly incarcerated again due to a judge’s order.

“He was officially put under investigation on allegations of the alleged rape of a minor and sexual harassment shortly after his [December 2020] arrest, and was put under a second investigation for the rape of a minor in June last year,” The Guardian reported.

According to his attorneys, Brunel was driven to commit suicide by a “deep sense of injustice.”

“His distress was that of a man of 75 years old caught up in a media-legal system that we should be questioning. Jean-Luc Brunel never stopped claiming his innocence and had made many efforts to prove it. His decision [to end his life] was not driven by guilt but by a deep sense of injustice,” the statement said.

Brunel was not under suicide watch at the time of his death, but he was being held in the “vulnerable people area” for prisoners believed to be at higher risk of being harmed by other detainees, the Herald reported.

An investigating source at La Santé, the French prison where Brunel was being held, said no cameras captured his death, according the Daily Mail.

“A night patrol found his lifeless body at about 1 a.m.,” the source said. “A judicial enquiry has been launched, and early evidence points to suicide.”