Frenchman Jean-Luc Brunel who allegedly procured more than a thousand women and girls for paedophile financier Epstine ‘hangs himself’
Epstein, who was arrested in New York in July 2019 on charges of trafficking underage girls for sex, was also found hanged in his New York jail cell the following month while awaiting trial over abuses involving girls at his Palm Beach home and on his private island in the Caribbean.
Brunel’s death echoes Epstein’s death by hanging in a New York jail cell in August 2019 which was ruled suicidal.
“It almost seems like the whole circle of people who were doing this that their conscience is taking over now that they’re being held accountable for their actions,” said Spencer Kuvin, an attorney who has represented several of Epstein’s victims. “Of course, the alternate conspiracy theory is that it’s like someone was trying to clean up.”
His former associate Jean-Luc Brunel, in his mid 70s, had also been charged with the rape of minors and held in prison since December 2020.
He was briefly freed in late 2021 but then re-incarcerated on a Paris court of appeal ruling.
Controversy over Epstein’s death has been fueled by the fact that prison video cameras at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correction Center were not running at the time Epstein died.
In the case of Jean-Luc Brunel, while CCTV is commonplace in the corridors and gateways of French prisons, the vast majority of cells are not under video surveillance. This is to ensure a degree of privacy, along with confirming to European human rights legislation.
Prosecutors in Paris confirmed Brunel, who is not believed to have been on suicide watch, was found hanging in his cell in La Santé, in the south of the capital city, in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Brunel is thought to have been alone at the time of his death and there were no cameras to record his final hours, according to an investigating source at La Santé – one of the toughest jails in France.
‘A night patrol found his lifeless body at about 1am,’ said an investigating source. ‘A judicial enquiry has been launched, and early evidence points to suicide.’
Police are now investigating the cause of the death, added the source, who asked not to be named. Brunel’s death means that his case is now closed, unless other suspects are implicated in the same case in the future.
The official enquiry into Brunel’s sudden death was on Saturday being carried out by offices from the 3rd Judicial Police district in Paris. An autopsy was set to be carried out, to establish the exact cause of death.
“It makes me angry because I’ve been fighting for years,” said Thysia Huisman, a former Dutch model who was at the centre of the historical rape allegations made against Brunel, “For me, the end of it all was to be in court. And now that whole ending – which would help with closure – is taken away from me”.
His death in an alleged hanging will also fuel conspiracy theories around the Epstein affair.
Brunel had denied the charges. He was first detained in December 2020 at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport.
It was in December 2020 that Brunel was indicted after two days of interviews by an examining magistrate and specialist police from an anti-paedophilia unit.
He was arrested at the city’s Charles de Gaulle airport on while trying to board a plane to Dakar, Senegal, telling detectives ‘I’m going on holiday’.
Brunel began his career as a model scout and in 1978 was involved in setting up the prestigious Karin Models agency.
He then moved to the United States where he co-founded the Miami-based agency MC2.
Epstein had provided Brunel with a million dollar line of credit to start the Miami Beach modelling agency MC2, and Brunel, a legendary model scout who had worked for decades in New York and Paris, is said to have since long aided and participated in the abuse of Epstein. girls.
“The only reason Mr Epstein was involved was because of the girls, I think, because it wasn’t a profitable business,” Vasquez told the Herald.
Maritza Vasquez, Brunel’s former Miami Beach accountant, told the Miami Herald in 2019 that MC2 wasn’t really a functional modelling agency, but rather a way to steer young women recruited by the agency into parties at Epstein’s mansion in Palm Beach and New York, and was not a successful business.
In US court documents, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, a key plaintiff against Epstein, accused him of using her as a “sex slave” and said she had been forced to have sex with well-known politicians and businessmen, including Brunel.
She also alleged Brunel would bring girls as young as 12 to the United States and pass them on to friends, including Epstein.
Brunel was originally indicted and placed in pre-trial detention in December 2020 for the ‘rape of a minor over 15 years old’ and harassing two other women.
He was also suspected of being a ‘pimp’ for Epstein, after becoming a close friend of the billionaire financier.
Brunel had been placed under the intermediate status of assisted witness for acts of ‘human trafficking’ and ‘exploiting minors for the sexual purposes.’
Brunel committed suicide because he was ‘crushed’ by the allegations against him, his defence lawyers said in a joint statement.
‘His distress was that of a 75-year-old man crushed by a media-judicial system which it should be time to question,’ said Mathias Chichportich, Marianne Abgrall and Christophe Ingrain.
‘Jean-Luc Brunel has continued to proclaim his innocence. He multiplied his efforts to prove it. His decision [to end his life] was not driven by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.’
Others involved in the ring include Epstein’s ex-girlfriend, the British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, 59, who is currently in prison in the USA after being found guilty of sex trafficking. Pictured, Brunel with Manwell on Epstein’s private island.