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Jeffrey Epstein Appears In Manhattan Federal Court On Sex Trafficking Charges

Source: Stephanie Keith / Getty

A confidant to Jeffrey Epstein is speaking out about his time with the convicted sex offender right before his death. According to him, Epstein was so scared of prison life that he considered hiring a Black inmate for protection.

According to DailyMail.com, Bill Mersey talked about his time with Epstein in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center where Mersey acted as an “inmate companion” while the multimillionaire was on suicide watch.

The 69-year-old said he has little doubt that Epstein committed suicide after another inmate, who was held next door to Epstein, told him he heard the sound of “ripping sheets” from Epstein’s cell on the night he died on August 10.

Mersey said that Epstein never talked about his crimes or the dozens of alleged victims who came forward to describe their abuse, much of which took place when they were underage.

Mersey, who served a year at MCC for federal tax evasion, said he spent about two dozen hours one-on-one with Epstein as part of the suicide watch program. Before he even started, Epstein was already a major topic amongst inmates and guards.

“He was on the news. There are four televisions in each unit and another in this little gym area,” said Mersey. “The inmates saw that he was a billionaire and it was like, ‘Wow, how can I extort this guy?’ MCC has some gang bangers, there were very few white collar offenders.”

Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14, between 2002 and 2005. He was looking at up to 45 years in prison if found guilty. On July 23, days after he was denied bail by a federal judge, he was thought to have attempted suicide after he was found in his cell, semi-conscious, with marks on his neck while in 9 South, a special housing unit, also called the “shu” or the “hole.”

After his reported suicide attempt, Epstein was transferred to a small suicide-watch unit of four cells. Suicide inmates aren’t allowed to leave their cells, the lights are never turned off and their under watch 24/7 by other inmates in 4-hour shifts.

“[In the suicide unit] we are all locked into that area on the second floor. You’re alone with the suicide inmates and the other companions,” Mersey said. “When [guards] do checks, they would open the door to the unit and ask how everyone was doing.”

Mersey said he and Epstein connected when Mersey told him that he made money catering to escort services. “He lit up immediately and we talked for two hours on escort services in New York,” Mersey said. “He didn’t ask about underage girls, nothing like that. I had no discussions with him about pedophilia or his predilection for girls under 18.”

Mersey said Epstein’s biggest worry was how to deal with prison life. “He was always asking about how to handle fellow inmates,” Mersey said. “He felt threatened. He wondered, ‘Do I need a shvar?’ [an offensive Yiddish word meaning Black person]. He told me that when he grew up in Coney Island, he’d been bullied by Black guys throughout his youth and he was just really scared of prison.”

Mersey said he tried to reassure Epstein that prison wasn’t that bad. He also said that Epstein was less scared of prison because of his alleged sex offenses, but he was more scared because he was a rich man. “He was afraid for his physical safety, he thought he was going to get his ass kicked,” Mersey said.

Mersey also mentioned how Epstein would tell stories of other rich or famous people like Donald Trump and Bill Clintion. “He didn’t brag about his lifestyle but Epstein knew everybody that matters, so I did ask him one time, Jeffrey, give me one anecdote that’s emblematic of the essence of Donald Trump,” said Mersey. “Epstein thought about it and then said, ‘Donald and I are flying in my private jet to Florida and I have a French girl with me. Donald says to me, why don’t we land in Atlantic City so I can show your friend my casino?’ [Epstein] said, ‘I’m not landing in Atlantic City, it’s all white trash down there. So the French girl goes, what does white trash mean? I don’t understand. And Trump says, It’s me without money.'”

Epstein also told his story of Bill Clinton, according to Mersey. “[Epstein] said he was walking down the street in a Chinese city with him and a really beautiful Asian girl walked by,” said Mersey. “[Clinton] turned to him and said, ‘That woman makes my d*** harder than Chinese arithmetic.'”

Just over one week after Epstein was taken off suicide watch, on August 10, he was found unresponsive in his cell in 9 South and was later pronounced dead in a hospital. Epstein’s death was ruled a suicide by hanging.

Mersey said, “I have this theory that the SHU killed him because it can be a maddening place. The SHU can get really noisy, it’s like a zoo. You’re caged in. You can really spiral down emotionally. You can’t make phone calls, you can’t buy commissary. You only shower three times a week. The cells at MCC are crawling with roaches, water bugs and families of mice.”

‘I am 99.999 percent that he committed suicide,” Mersey added. “I wasn’t there to see it so I can’t be 100 percent but I wouldn’t bet 2 cents against $1 million that somebody did him. He did himself.”

Following Epstein’s death, two guards, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, have been charged with conspiracy and falsifying records. They allegedly were asleep for a couple hours and browsing the Internet during their shift while performing none of their required checks between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“Many guards told me it was the worst place they had ever worked,” Mersey said. “They thought it was really inefficient and they were always short of officers.”

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