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Jean-Luc Brunel: Virginia Giuffre ‘disappointed not to be able to face abuser after suicide’

French fashion agent linked to Jeffrey Epstein found dead in prison cell while awaiting trial on charges of rape of a minor and sexual harassment

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 19 February 2022 20:35 GMT
Epstein-linked fashion agent Jean-Luc Brunel found dead in cell
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Virginia Giuffre has responded to the news a French fashion agent linked to Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in his prison cell.

Jean-Luc Brunel, 76, was in detention awaiting a trial on charges of rape of a minor and sexual harassment.

He was suspected of being involved in a global paedophile ring organised by the late disgraced financier Epstein, who took his own life in prison while awaiting trial for sex crimes, in 2019.

Ms Giuffre, one of Epstein’s main accusers, alleged Brunel procured women, some of them minors, for sex with Epstein and other people, luring them with promises of modelling work.

In a statement released on Saturday, Ms Giuffre expressed disappointment at no longer being able to face him in court.

She said: “The suicide of Jean Luc Brunel, who abused me and countless girls and women, ends another chapter.

“I am disappointed that I was not able to face him in a final trial and hold him accountable for his actions, but gratified that I was able to face him in person in Paris, to keep him in prison.”

Brunel was arrested at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris in 2020 while trying to board a plane to Senegal.

A frequent companion of Epstein, Brunel was considered central to the French investigation into alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls by the US financier and his circle.

Epstein travelled often to France and had property in Paris.

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

One of them, Thysia Huisman, said the news of Brunel’s death sent her into “shock”.

Virginia Giuffre alleged Jean-Luc Brunel procured women, some of them minors, for sex with Jeffrey Epstein and other people, luring them with promises of modelling work (Crime+Investigation/PA)

“It makes me angry, because I’ve been fighting for years,” said the Dutch former model who told police she was raped by Brunel as a teenager.

“For me, the end of this was to be in court. And now that whole ending, which would help form closure, is taken away from me.”

Anne-Claire Lejeune, a lawyer representing Ms Huisman and other victims, said other women involved in the case felt the same.

“Great disappointment, great frustration that (the victims) won’t get justice,” she said.

She expressed doubt the investigation would lead to a trial because Brunel was so central to the case.

Brunel’s death comes just days after Prince Andrew settled a civil sexual assault case brought against him by Ms Giuffre.

She sued the Duke of York claiming she was forced to have sex with him when she was 17 years old after being trafficked by Epstein.

Prince Andrew denied her allegations.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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