A former friend of Jeffrey Epstein, who federal prosecutors had recently subpoenaed in the Virgin Islands, is dead.
Jean-Luc Brunel, the French modeling agent who spent years traveling with Epstein and the convicted pedophile’s gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell, was found hanged in his jail cell in the early morning hours of Saturday, according to the French newspaper Le Monde. The manner of death was eerily similar to that of Epstein, who was also found hanged in his jail cell after his arrest back in 2019.
Lawyers for Brunel, who was 75, released a statement shortly after his death that said in part: “His decision was not guided by guilt, but by a deep sense of injustice.”
Brunel got his start working at Karin Models in Paris before creating the very successful global modeling agency Next. He became a giant in the industry due to his ability to scout superstar models, most notably Christy Turlington and Milla Jovovich. Then, in 2004, he launched a new shop in Miami called MC2 Model Agency. Court filings would later reveal that Epstein had put up close to $1 million to help launch the agency.
The launch of MC2 came after a damning 60 Minutes report in the late 1980s highlighted the stories of several young models who alleged they had been drugged and raped by Brunel and the head of Elite Model Management, Gerald Marie, who was once married to Canadian supermodel Linda Evangelista. Brunel and Marie had repeatedly denied those allegations.
Virginia Giuffre, who claims that Epstein trafficked her to Brunel when she was underage, has also alleged in court documents that Epstein and Brunel used the agency to traffic underage girls into the country.
French authorities had arrested Brunel in December 2020 for the alleged sexual assault of a minor over the age of 15. Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz released a statement announcing the charges at the time, which noted that Brunel “is suspected of having committed acts of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment on various minor or major victims and of having, in particular, organized the transport and accommodation of young girls or young women on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein.”
He and Epstein fell out after the latter served time behind bars as part of his sweetheart plea deal with Florida prosecutors in 2008 that saw him enter a guilty plea to two counts of soliciting a minor for prostitution. Brunel would later file a lawsuit against Epstein; it alleged that the latter’s notoriety caused MC2 Model Agency to collapse. Epstein managed to evade service of that lawsuit for years, but the case had finally started to move forward in 2019 just as Epstein found himself back behind bars. After Epstein died in his own prison cell, Brunel ultimately moved to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice.
Brunel was also a key player in the ongoing civil case against Epstein’s estate in the Virgin Islands. Prosecutors had served both him and his modeling agency MC2 with subpoenas in the case. The list of requested documents and information include the following, according to court records there:
- Any and all Documents, Communications, or Materials related to any and all travel to the Virgin Islands of or for any female that you or any modeling or talent agency with which you were affiliated arrange or assisted in arranging;
- Any and all photos and/or videos of any property owned by Jeffrey Epstein and/or any Epstein entity in your possession, including undeveloped film and digital images;
- Any and all photos, including digital and still images and/or videos of any females you either arranged to travel to the Virgin Islands or whom you travel to the Virgin Islands;
- All Documents, Materials, or Communications reflecting or regarding any and all arrangements, contracts, agreements, appointments, schedules, or other Documents or Communications related to any photoshoots in the Virgin Islands for or with any model associated with you or any modeling or talent agency with which you were involved;
- All Documents, Materials, or Communications related to your recruitment or the recruitment by any modeling or talent agency with which you have been involved of any models or talent for any individual or entity, including but not limited to Jeffrey Epstein, any Epstein Entity, or [redacted];
Any and all Documents, Materials, or Communications related to any visas or immigration documents for any females contracted, hired, or employed by you or any modeling or talent agency with which you were involved, including but not limited to any documents related to legal services to obtain visas or other immigration documents and any and all correspondence or communication with [redacted].
Prosecutors served Brunel with that subpoena in November 2020, one month after serving a subpoena on MC2. It is not known if Brunel had complied with these subpoenas before his death, and a spokesperson for the Virgin Islands’ Attorney General’s Office did respond to a request for comment from Law&Crime.
Read the subpoena below:
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