Jeffrey Epstein signed redrafted will 2 days before jail suicide
NEW YORK (ABC) — Multimillionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein redrafted his last will and testament two days before his death by suicide in a federal jail in New York, enlisting a lawyer for Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to witness him signing the document and appointing Bill Gates’ former science adviser as an alternate executor.
The will was filed on Thursday, Aug. 15, in Superior Court in the U.S. Virgin Islands and shows that Epstein signed it on Aug. 8, declaring “this to be my Will hereby revoking all prior Wills and Codicils made by me.”
In the first of a series of instructions on how to handle his more than half-billion-dollar estate, the 11-page will, obtained by ABC News and first reported on by the New York Post, tells his executors to “pay from my estate all expenses of my last illness, my funeral and burial expenses.”
Two days after he signed the will, Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) in Manhattan and later died at a hospital. The New York City Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy and determined that Epstein’s death was a suicide by hanging.
His death came about two weeks after he was taken off suicide watch following a July 23 incident in which he was found unresponsive in his cell with marks on his neck and taken to a hospital.
Epstein was being held without bail at the jail, awaiting a trial next year on federal sex trafficking charges involving multiple minors. He faced 45 years in prison if convicted.
One of the last people to see Epstein alive besides jail staff was Mariel Colon Miro, a member of the legal team for “El Chapo,” who was convicted in February on drug smuggling and murder charges and is now serving a life sentence.
Miro was one of two people who penned their signatures to the will vouching that they witnessed Epstein sign it. Another witness who signed the document was New York lawyer Gulnora Tali.
Reached Monday night by phone, Miro told ABC News that she met with Epstein on Aug. 8 at MCC, but declined to comment on the circumstances of the meeting.
Epstein appointed Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, two of his longtime attorneys, to be co-executors of his will and agreed they would be paid $250,000 each “upon the completion of probate of my estate,” according to the will.
He also named Boris Nikolic, a biotech venture capitalist and the former science adviser to Microsoft-founder Bill Gates, as an alternate executor in case either Indyke or Kahn “is unable or unwilling to serve” as executor.
But Nikolic told Bloomberg News that he was “shocked” by Epstein naming him in the will.
“I was not consulted in these matters and I have no intent to fulfill these duties, whatsoever,” Nikolic said in a statement released to Bloomberg.
Epstein instructed the executors of his will to transfer all his property, “real and personal,” into a trust he called “The 1953 Trust,” apparently after the year he was born.
The will does not name any beneficiaries of the trust, although court papers filed last week by the executors of his estate listed Epstein’s brother, Mark, as the only heir or next of kin “entitled to a share of the estate if he had left no will.”
Mark Epstein launched his own investigation into his sibling’s death, sources familiar with the matter told ABC News, hiring famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden to observe his brother’s autopsy.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Inspector General to conduct an investigation into how a high-profile inmate such as Epstein was able to hang himself while in federal custody.
Two correctional officers who were supposed to do checks on Epstein every 30 minutes on the day he died failed to follow protocols in the hours in which Epstein is believed to have taken his own life, ABC News has previously reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.
In court papers filed by Indyke and Kahn on Thursday in Superior Court in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Epstein’s estate was estimated to be worth $577.6 million, including about $56.5 million in cash.
Epstein also had aviation assets, automobiles and boats worth $18.5 million, a mansion on the Upper East Side of Manhattan worth nearly $56 million, an $8.6 million Paris apartment, a $17.2 million New Mexico Ranch, a $12.3 million home in Palm Beach, Florida, and a private island and other holdings in the U.S. Virgin Islands with an estimated worth of $86.3 million, according to the court document.
Epstein’s estate also includes $195 million in hedge funds and private equity investments, $14.3 million in fixed-income investments and $112.6 million in equities, according to the document.
Several lawyers representing Epstein’s accusers have filed civil claims against Epstein’s estate. Three new lawsuits were filed in federal court in New York on Tuesday morning on behalf of anonymous accusers, alleging that Epstein’s associates, employees and corporate entities for years facilitated and enabled his sex trafficking enterprise.
“Defendants, at the direction of Epstein or in furtherance of his demands, and with help from assistants, associates and underlings, and even other victims, recruited or procured dozens if not hundreds of young females, including minors, for the purpose of Epstein’s sexual gratification,” write attorneys Brad Edwards and Stan Pottinger, in a complaint filed Tuesday on behalf of a New York woman using the pseudonym, Lisa Doe.