A modelling agent who was near convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein was discovered useless Saturday in his French jail cell, the place he was being held in an investigation into the rape and intercourse trafficking of minors, in accordance with the Paris prosecutor’s workplace.
Paris police are investigating Jean-Luc Brunel’s demise on the historic La Santé Jail in Paris, the prosecutor’s workplace stated.
Victims of his alleged abuse described shock and dismay that the 75-year-old — a well known mannequin scout within the Eighties and Nineteen Nineties who ran totally different businesses in Paris and New York — won’t ever face trial. They known as his demise a double blow after Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail whereas awaiting sex-trafficking expenses.
Brunel’s attorneys recommended on Saturday that he, too, killed himself. In a press release, they described his “misery” at his incarceration and his repeated requests for a provisional launch from the jail.
“Jean-Luc Brunel by no means stopped declaring his innocence,” they stated. “His determination was not guided by guilt, however by a deep sentiment of injustice.”
The attorneys wouldn’t remark additional on what occurred, and it was unclear whether or not the jail had suicide prevention measures in place.
Brunel was detained at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 as a part of a broad French probe unleashed by the U.S. sex-trafficking expenses in opposition to Epstein.
A frequent companion of Epstein, Brunel was thought of central to the French investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of girls and women by the U.S. financier and his circle. Epstein travelled typically to France and had flats in Paris.
One among Epstein’s principal accusers, Virginia Giuffre, has alleged that Brunel procured ladies, a few of them minors, for intercourse with Epstein and different rich individuals, luring them with guarantees of modelling work.
Closure ‘taken away’ from accusers
A number of ladies who recognized themselves as victims have spoken to police for the reason that French probe started in 2019, and at occasions they expressed frustration with the gradual tempo of the investigation.
One among them, Thysia Huisman, stated Saturday that the information of Brunel’s demise despatched her into “shock.”
“It makes me indignant, as a result of I have been combating for years,” Huisman, a former Dutch mannequin who advised police she was drugged and raped by Brunel as a teen, advised The Related Press. “For me, the top of this was to be in courtroom. And now that entire ending — which might assist kind closure — is taken away from me.”
Anne-Claire Le Jeune, a lawyer representing Huisman and different accusers, stated different ladies concerned within the case really feel the identical.
“Nice disappointment, nice frustration that [the victims] will not get justice,” she advised the AP.
She expressed doubt that the investigation would result in a trial, as a result of Brunel was so central to the case. She additionally voiced issues that Brunel’s demise means his accusers will not get any official recognition of their standing as victims.
“To rebuild your self [after abuse], that is without doubt one of the important steps,” Huisman stated.
She expressed hope that Brunel’s demise will not discourage ladies from persevering with to talk out about abuse. The investigation, together with a rising reckoning about sexual misconduct in France, has “freed up ladies to speak about it,” she stated. “It is a troublesome step that requires quite a lot of braveness and energy.”
‘Struggle to hunt fact and justice goes on’
Brunel was named in U.S. courtroom filings, too. The spokesperson for the prosecutors who charged Epstein in New York declined touch upon Brunel’s demise.
For Giuffre and different victims, the information of Brunel’s demise was “devastating,” in accordance a press release from her lawyer, Sigrid McCawley.
Giuffre herself tweeted: “The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and numerous women and younger ladies, ends one other chapter. I am disenchanted that I wasn’t capable of face him in a closing trial to carry him accountable, however gratified that I used to be capable of testify in individual final yr to maintain him in jail.”
McCawley stated Brunel’s demise didn’t finish the seek for justice.
“For the ladies who’ve stood up and known as for accountability from legislation enforcement world wide, it’s not how these males died, however how they lived, and the harm they prompted to so many. The combat to hunt fact and justice goes on,” she stated.
Britain’s Prince Andrew not too long ago agreed to settle a case by which Giuffre accused him of sexual abuse when she was 17. Giuffre says she was equipped to Andrew by Epstein, expenses that Andrew denies. The settlement, by which Andrew agreed to make a considerable donation to Giuffre’s charity, avoids a trial.