Jean-Luc Brunel, a French former modeling agent and associate of the late financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was found dead in his Paris prison cell early Saturday morning. He was 75.
Brunel had been imprisoned since he was placed under formal investigation in 2020. He was accused of sexual harassment, as well as the rape of minors aged 15-18. He had denied the allegations.
Brunel also was suspected of scouting young women for Epstein, who was found hanged in a New York prison as he awaited his trial for allegedly running a network using underage girls for sex. Brunel had previously pleaded guilty to prostitution charges involving a minor in Florida in 2008.
According to a New York Times report, a French official confirmed that Brunel was found hanging overnight in his cell at La Santé, a prison in southern Paris. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because an investigation had been opened.
BBC News reported that police have opened an inquiry into the circumstances of Brunel’s death.
Brunel co-founded the French modeling agency Karin Models in 1977. He also founded MC2 Model Management in the United States with funding from Epstein. He was arrested at Charles De Gaulle airport in November 2019 as he was preparing to board a flight to Senegal.
Brunel is one of several Epstein associates that were swept up in Epstein’s sex offender scandal.
In late December, British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted on 5 out of 6 charges of sex trafficking stemming from her years working with Jeffrey Epstein. Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial related to accusations she helped recruit, groom and pay teenage girls to engage in sexual acts.
Prosecutors said Epstein could not have sexually abused girls as young as 14 without Maxwell serving as his “lady of the house.” Maxwell’s lawyers have said she is innocent.