Jeffrey Epstein kills himself ahead of sex trafficking trial

The 66-year-old, who was being held without bail in a Manhattan jail, was accused of abusing dozens of underage girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida.

Epstein, who denied the charges, was found at 7.30am on Saturday morning according to officials, who spoke to NBC. They said he had hanged himself.

Last month, he had reportedly been found unconscious with neck injuries on the floor of his cell. His lawyers declined to comment at the time.

Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to prostitution-related charges involving underage girls, in exchange for the Justice Department's agreement not to prosecute him on similar charges.

His lawyers had argued the agreement barred federal prosecutors in Manhattan from pursuing the latest case over the same conduct.

However, US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said there was no such block.

Epstein had also been appealing Mr Berman's denial of his request to remain under house arrest in his $77m (£64m) mansion on Manhattan's Upper East Side while awaiting trial.

His death comes as court papers were unsealed in which a woman claimed Prince Andrew had touched her breast at Epstein's Manhattan mansion.

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