By: Jacqueline Desrosiers:

Truenewsblog – A model agent close to disgraced US financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday in his French jail cell, where he was being held as part of an investigation into the rape and sex trafficking of minors, according to Paris prosecutors.

Paris police are investigating the death of Jean-Luc Brunel at the historic La Sante prison in Paris, prosecutors said.

Victims of his alleged abuse described shock and dismay that the 75-year-old, a well-known model scout in the 1980s and 1990s who ran various agencies in Paris and New York, will never be brought to justice. They called his death a double whammy after Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan jail in 2019 while awaiting sex trafficking charges.

Brunel’s lawyers suggested on Saturday that he too had killed himself. In a statement, they described his “dismay” at his detention and his repeated requests for a provisional release from prison.

“Jean-Luc Brunel never stopped protesting his innocence,” they said. “His decision was not guided by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.”

Lawyers declined to comment further on the incident and it was unclear whether the prison had any suicide prevention measures in place.

Brunel was arrested at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in 2020 as part of a broad French probe sparked by US sex trafficking charges against Epstein. Brunel, a frequent companion of Epstein, was considered central to the French investigation into the alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by the US financier and his circle. Epstein traveled to France often and had apartments in Paris.

One of Epstein’s lead accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has alleged that Brunel procured women, some underage, for sex with Epstein and other wealthy people and lured them with promises of modeling jobs.

Several women who identified themselves as victims have spoken to police since the French inquiry began in 2019, at times expressing frustration at the slow pace of the investigation.

One of them, Thysia Huisman, said on Saturday that the news of Brunel’s death put her in “shock”.

“It makes me angry because I’ve been fighting for years,” Huisman, a Dutch former model who told police she was drugged and raped by Brunel as a teenager, told The Associated Press. “For me, the end should be in court. And now this whole ending – which would help close it – is being taken away from me.”

A lawyer representing Huisman and other victims, Anne-Claire Le Jeune, said other women involved in the case feel the same way.

“Great disappointment, great frustration that (the victims) will not receive justice,” she told Truenews.

She expressed doubts that the investigation would lead to a jury trial as Brunel was so central to the case. She also raised concerns that Brunel’s death means his accusers will not receive official recognition of their victim status.

“Rebuilding (after abuse) is one of the essential steps,” said Huisman.

She expressed hope that Brunel’s death will not stop women from continuing to speak out about abuse. The inquiry, along with a growing reckoning of sexual misconduct in France, “freed women to speak up,” she said. “It’s a difficult step that requires a lot of courage and strength.”

Brunel was also named in US court filings. The spokesman for the prosecutor who charged Epstein in New York declined to comment on Brunel’s death.

For Giuffre and other victims, the news of Brunel’s death was “devastating,” according to her attorney, Sigrid McCawley.

Guiffre himself tweeted: “The suicide of Jean-Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and young women, closes another chapter. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to face him in a final trial to bring him to justice, but pleased that I was able to testify personally to keep him in prison last year.”

McCawley said Brunel’s death did not end the search for justice.

“For the women who have stood up and held law enforcement around the world to account, it’s not how these men died, it’s how they lived and the harm they caused to so many.

The fight for truth and justice continues,” McCawley said.

Britain’s Prince Andrew recently agreed to settle a case in which Giuffre accused him of sexual abuse when she was 17. Guiffre says it was delivered to Andrew by Epstein, allegations Andrew denies. The settlement, in which Andrew agreed to make a sizeable donation to Giuffre’s charity, avoids litigation.

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