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A modeling agent who was shut to disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein was located dead Saturday in his French jail mobile, authorities in Paris say.
Jean-Luc Brunel was being held in an investigation into the alleged rape and trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation, in accordance to the Paris prosecutor’s business.
Victims of the alleged abuse described shock and dismay that the agent will by no means confront trial. They explained his dying as a double blow immediately after Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail when awaiting intercourse-trafficking expenses.
Paris law enforcement are investigating Brunel’s demise, the prosecutor’s workplace stated. The instances of his demise ended up not made general public, and Brunel’s attorneys did not remark on it.
Brunel had denied wrongdoing and claimed by way of his attorney that he was ready to speak to investigators. Brunel’s legal staff had frequently complained about the situations of his detention and sought to have him launched pending trial.
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Brunel, who was in his 70s, was detained at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 as part of a wide French probe unleashed by the U.S. sex-trafficking prices versus Epstein.
A repeated companion of Epstein, Brunel was viewed as central to the French investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of ladies and girls by the U.S. financier and his circle. Epstein traveled usually to France and experienced residences in Paris.
Various females who recognized on their own as victims have spoken to law enforcement considering that the French probe was opened in 2019 and, at times, expressed stress with the slow pace of the investigation.
One particular of them, Thysia Huisman, reported the information of Brunel’s death despatched her into “shock.”
“It tends to make me offended since I have been fighting for yrs,” Huisman, a Dutch previous product who instructed police she was raped by Brunel as a teen, advised The Connected Press. “For me, the finish of this was to be in court docket. And now that entire ending — which would enable variety closure — is taken away from me.”
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A attorney representing Huisman and other victims, Anne-Claire Lejeune, said other females included in the scenario experience the exact same.
“Good disappointment, terrific disappointment that (the victims) won’t get justice,” she explained to The AP.
She expressed question the investigation would lead to a trial since Brunel was so central to the circumstance. She also voiced problems that Brunel’s dying indicates his accusers will not get official recognition of their status as victims.
“To rebuild on your own (after abuse), that is one of the necessary measures,” Huisman stated.
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Huisman expressed hope that Brunel’s dying would not discourage ladies from continuing to talk out about abuse. The investigation, along with a increasing reckoning about sexual misconduct in France, has “freed up females to discuss about it,” she stated. “It is a hard action that needs a ton of braveness and energy.”
One particular of Epstein’s main accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that Brunel procured girls — some of them minors — for intercourse with Epstein and other people, luring them with promises of modeling operate.
Britain’s Prince Andrew not long ago agreed to settle a scenario in which Giuffre accused him of sexual abuse when she was 17. Guiffre claims she was provided to Andrew by Epstein, prices that Andrew denies. The settlement, in which Andrew agreed to make a substantial donation to Giuffre’s charity, avoids a demo.
The Involved Press contributed to this report.