Former inmate is adamant wasn’t murdered.
On Aug. 10, 2019, the disgraced financier who was charged with sexually abusing numerous underage girls over several years, was found dead at New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) at age 66.
Epstein was discovered unresponsive with bedsheets around his neck less than 24 hours after more than 2,000 pages of documents were made public from a since-settled lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend alleged to be his aide-de-camp.
The documents included graphic allegations against Epstein and a 2016 deposition in which he refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself. He had been placed on suicide watch a month before his death, after he was found on his cell floor with bruises around his neck.
The medical examiner ruled Epstein’s death a suicide.
Epstein is now the subject of a new on titled “Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?” which features exclusive interviews and an in-depth investigation to reveal new clues about Epstein’s seedy underworld, privileged life and controversial death. Mersey said he agreed to participate after the network contacted him directly.
The special is part of ” which offers new shows running nightly on the true-crime network.
Mersey, who served a year at MCC for tax fraud, had signed up for the companion program, which monitored prisoners who needed special protection or who might be on suicide watch. The opportunity earned him 40 cents an hour. It was during this time that he met Epstein.
The multimillionaire was arrested on July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse in New York City, as well as his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., between 2002 and 2005.
“My impression of Jeffrey Epstein was that he was just a regular guy,” Mersey told Fox News. “He reminded me of all the people I grew up with. I grew up on Long Island in a very Jewish school district. He was like one of the guys I went to high school with. He wasn’t outstanding. He was a civilized guy, except that of course, he likes 15-year-old girls. But he didn’t strike me as being particularly intellectual. He just didn’t appear as that intelligent.”
“He didn't come across as a criminal, a pedophile,” Mersey continued. “It seemed strange. , who was my buddy for a while, had an aura about him. He was a more impressive individual. I’m certainly not condoning Paul Manafort, but that was just my impression.”
Epstein, a wealth manager who hobnobbed with the rich, famous and intellectual, owned a private island in the Caribbean, homes in both Paris and New York City, a New Mexico ranch and a fleet of high-priced cars. When Epstein found himself behind bars, he was in for a rude awakening.
“It’s a really badly run place,” Mersey explained. “Every corrections officer I’ve spoken to have said this was the worst place they’ve ever worked in. It’s a train wreck. Nobody cares. You never go outside. Mice are running all over the place. You saw water bugs routinely.”
Mersey said that while Epstein didn’t appear to be depressed, he did worried about his future. Mersey claimed he spent between eight to 12 hours a day speaking with his attorneys.
“I remember he would sort of drift off in the middle of conversations,” Mersey recalled. “I could just see that he was thinking, ‘Oh my God, am I ever going to get out of here?’ But I think he held on to hope that the lawyers were going to find a deal. That he would get out. But there was a certain point where you just knew he wasn’t going to get out… We had a lot of discussions about how he was going to handle things because he was really scared of the prison population.”
“He told me he’d been bullied by black kids in his youth,” Mersey claimed. “It became more of a, ‘What am I going to do about this?’ Everybody would tell him, ‘Just stand up straight and look at people in the eye. It’s not really that threatening of a place. Just man up, take your sentence like a man.’ It’s not like this was the penitentiary. But he was really concerned about that.”
“There were a lot of guys with 20-inch biceps,” he said. “Literally in the MCC, two-thirds of the guys could bench press 300 pounds… I don’t think there was anybody I could have beat up in that f——- unit. Maybe two or three. Otherwise, I would have been crushed in a fight. These guys were huge. And the pretrial guys were more violent than the sentence guys because they don’t know when they’re going to get out. The sentence guys, they know their end date and don’t want to f—- it up by getting in a stupid fight.”
Mersey also shared that, to his knowledge, Epstein wasn’t a target for his high-profile crimes.
“Pedophiles who are really targets are guys who fool around with prepubescent children,” he said. “Once [those girls] hit puberty, inmates don’t really judge you. [Their logic is] if she can procreate, she’s a woman. It’s society that labels a certain age of consent… There were guys in there who were running escort agencies with 17-year-old girls. Nobody gave a s—- about that. They were much more impressed by his money… Maybe the guys might have tried to extort him. Like, ‘Put $1,000 on my books and I won’t beat you up.’ It’s not beyond the realm of possibility.”
Mersey said there was only one time he ever noticed something strange about Epstein, which was when he saw some marks around his neck.
“I said, ‘So Jeffrey, what the f—- happened?’” Mersey recalled. “He’s like, ‘I got up to get a drink of water and that’s the last thing I remember.’ I thought to myself, ‘Get the f—- out of here.’ But I didn’t say that to him. I cut him some slack but I knew he was full of crap.”
While Mersey stressed Epstein never came across as suicidal to him, he did appear worried about how he was going to handle life in prison. And any hope he might have had about freedom was quickly diminishing
“I don’t think he was ever going to get out,” said Mersey. “He was going to have to rat out or whoever. [During our last conversation], I told him all the usual cliches, like, 'Keep your chin up, remember everything I told you, man up.' But I just didn’t think he was ever going to get out. He really wanted to live a more comfortable life.”
And during their last conversation, Mersey claimed Epstein offered him money.
“He said, ‘Mersey, you need any money?’” he said. “I was like, ‘Well, I could always use money from a billionaire, you know? But listen, I’m a Jewish guy from Long Island with a tax fraud charge. I actually have money. I don’t want anything from you. You don’t have to worry about that.’ But he was like, ‘Give me your registration number and the spelling of your name and I’ll have somebody put money on your books.’”
Mersey said it was a Saturday morning when he noticed the building was “crawling” with government agents.
“We were on lockdown because Jeffrey Epstein killed himself,” he said. "I guess I wasn't going to get any money after all."
But despite the numerous conspiracy theories insisting Epstein was murdered, Mersey still believes he took his own life.
“I’m 99 percent sure,” he said. “There was a guy I knew who worked with me in the kitchen… He ended up having the cell next to Epstein and he recalled hearing bed sheets being teared up in the middle of the night. And nobody came in to investigate that. This guy has no agenda. He just wanted to tell me what had happened. And he was adamant that if there was any debate whether somebody killed Jeffrey Epstein, he was going to put it to rest. And there are too many people involved [at MCC]. It would have unraveled quickly. It would have been difficult to cover that up for such a long time. Look, he didn’t seem depressed, but it was all over. And I think he knew that.”
Mersey said that Epstein never showed any remorse for his crimes. And while Mersey was the one who tried to show Epstein how to survive, he said the financier had his own advice to share.
“I remember we talked about investments and he just said matter of factly, ‘Stocks are like p——,” he said. “When you have a woman, after a while you can predict her moods, what’s going to set her off and what’s going to make her happy. That’s what a stock is. Watch the stock market for six months and how it reacts to world news. If you watch it every day, you’ll be able to trade it successfully.”
"Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?" premieres Sunday, May 31st at 9 p.m. EST on ID. The Associated Press contributed to this report.