Modeling agent close to Epstein found dead in French jail

Jeffery Epstein is shown in a March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry.

A modeling agent who was close to disgraced U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday in his French jail cell, where he was being held in an investigation into the rape of minors and trafficking of minors for sexual exploitation, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.

Paris police are investigating the death of the agent, Jean-Luc Brunel, the prosecutor’s office said.

Brunel’s lawyer did not immediately comment. His lawyer previously said that Brunel contested accusations against him in the media, but that he was available to talk to judicial officials.

Brunel was detained at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 as part of a broad French probe unleashed by sex-trafficking charges in the U.S. against Epstein. Epstein killed himself in 2019 in a Manhattan jail while awaiting trial.

A frequent companion of Epstein, Brunel was considered central to the French investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by the U.S. financier and his circle. Epstein traveled often to France and had apartments in Paris.

Multiple women have identified themselves as victims and spoken to police since the French probe was opened in 2019.

Earlier this week, Britain’s Prince Andrew agreed to settle a case in which he was accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl supplied to him by Epstein. The deal, in which Andrew agreed to make a substantial donation to his accuser's charity, avoids a trial.