The second scenario: Not suicide, but someone wanting Epstein gone, gets steam

The New York Times is sticking to its "narrative" that convicted pedophile-facing-new-charges Jeffrey Epstein did himself in in a hoosegow suicide, surrounded by a sea of incompetence at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center. Its column about it is titled the definitive-sounding "What We Know About Jeffrey Epstein's Death."

But the Washington Post seems to be moving to toward the second possibility, that Epstein was picked off by someone who wanted him gone at the Manhattan jail.

The New York Times is sticking to its "narrative" that convicted pedophile-facing-new-charges Jeffrey Epstein did himself in in a hoosegow suicide, surrounded by a sea of incompetence at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center. Its column about it is titled the definitive-sounding "What We Know About Jeffrey Epstein's Death."

But the Washington Post seems to be moving to toward the second possibility, that Epstein was picked off by someone who wanted him gone at the Manhattan jail.

An autopsy found that financier Jeffrey Epstein sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings, deepening the mystery about the circumstances around his death.

Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.

The details are the first findings to emerge from the autopsy of Epstein, a convicted sex offender and multimillionaire in federal custody on charges of sex trafficking. He died early Saturday morning after guards found him hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and he could not be revived.

To see how that works, here are two photos of hyoid bones. You can see where the bone, which supports the tongue looks like and where it's placed, and how easily such a bone would break in a victim of a choking homicide:

Image credit: OpenStax College // CC BY-SA 3.0

Image credit: Rob and Stephanie Levy, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Both the Times and the Post use anonymous sources leaking information, and the fact that different kinds of leaks coming out suggests that perhaps they are real leaks from different people. But both have been guilty of supporting narratives, and in the years since their Russia-Russia-Russia reportage, anonymous sources were well employed to advance agendas.

Could the conflicting storylines of the two papers perhaps signal more than just different sources saying different things? Possibly.

The New York Times may be sticking by its story of suicide because it views the Epstein case as one of pinning the pervert on President Trump, and now that that bid has failed, they're losing interest, pursuing the 'series-of-unfortunate-accidents' scenario, and taking the story to the narrative of prison reform, which of course is well-needed in any blue city, including New York. Anyone pursuing any other story line is simply a right-wing conspiracy monger.

The Post, though, seems to be open to the murder scenario -- Arkancide, or something similar -- and working the story from the underlying motive angle. They aren't hiding the information from their sources that someone might have wanted him done in. The odds of Epstein committing suicide and breaking his neck in the process are possible, but the percentages of such cases accomplishing that are remarkably low - in the neighborhood of 6% to 25% according to past studies.

Which would point to motive again -- a sense that powerful people, in politics, entertainment, and royalty, might have wanted the guy dead to keep him from talking to prosecutors. Could a supposedly sleeping guard, or another convict have been paid to do the deed?  

The Post seems to be at least open to the possibility with its latest story. Perhaps it wants that story out, or perhaps Post owner Jeff Bezos is influencing the storyline.

And well, there's a lot of unexplored story that could point to it. There were reports of screams at dawn. There were people who've been in prison who argue that no one can commit suicide in that lockup. There were reports that Epstein wasn't suicidal and thought that someone tried to kill him earlier. If any of these are true, and I can't tell at this point, the  guard incompetence cited could very well be a dog-ate-my-homework sort of cover-up.

There also were deeper levels of motive, which is the gist of the Post's reporting. One is that Epstein had a lot of information on powerful players with money that he could have traded for a lighter sentence. The recent Daily Mail report that a picture of Bill Clinton wearing a blue dress and red high heels was hanging in Epstein's private quarters would suggest that Clinton could have been Epstein's little plaything and the two of them had secrets to keep. It certainly would explain the 26 trips on the Lolita Express that the flight logs showed, and which Clinton now is denying. A painting like that, so very highly prized by Epstein that he hung it in his private quarters, could have been blackmail material, too, a message to Clinton, that he was going to play ball, particularly if the portrait was really a photograph or derived from one. To be fair, it also could have been just Epstein's general creepiness...

In any case, the murder theory has gained a bit of fuel with this report, but it's hardly conclusive. Just more reason to watch who is doing what and why they might be doing it.