A former French modeling agent with ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and serving a sentence for similar accusations was found dead in his prison cell on Saturday (February 19), the Paris prosecutor’s office confirmed to NBC News.
Jean-Luc Brunel was reported to have “died by suicide because he was discovered dead from hanging himself with his sheets” at La Santé prison, officials confirmed to NBC News during a telephone call Saturday morning.
An ensuing investigation has been launched to determine the exact cause of Brunel’s death, as is customary in all prison deaths, officials confirmed.
Brunel was charged with sexual harassment and rape of at least one minor over the age of 15 in December 2020 after initially being arrested earlier that month at Charles de Gualle Airport in Paris ahead of a scheduled flight to Senegal.
Prosecutors declined to reveal how many of the alleged victims were over the age of 15 in relation to the charges at the time that they were handed down to Brunel.
The 75-year-old led the modeling agency Karin Models Agency and founded MC2 Model Management, which was financed by Epstein and had offices in New York, Miami and Tel Aviv.
Brunel had previously denied the allegations he faced and said he was willing to speak with investigators in relation to the case via his legal team, which had repeatedly complained about the conditions he faced during incarceration and attempted to have him released ahead of his scheduled trial.
Brunel’s death comes less than three full years after Epstein was similarly found dead in his own prison cell in New York ahead of a trial in relation to sex trafficking charges, which has since been ruled as a suicide.