The Legal Ramifications of Posting Jeffrey Epstein’s Death on 4chan Prior to Official Reports

jeffrey epstein mugshot

The New York City Fire Department is allegedly launching an investigation into whether a first responder posted about Jeffrey Epstein‘s apparent suicide on 4chan before official announcements were made.

According to Buzzfeed News, someone posted the following message to the notorious message board at 8:16 a.m.:  “[D]ont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest. Screencap this.”  It was a full 38 minutes before the first reporter, ABC’s Aaron Katersky, Tweeted the news.

Following the post, 4chan users began trolling the poster, as is their wont, begging him to share more details. In response, the poster shared a detailed list of the medical procedures used to try and resuscitate Epstein.

As BuzzFeed pointed out, Frank Gribbon, a Deputy Commissioner for the FDNY, said that if the poster is a medical professional, they’re in violation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and could face consequences. He added that the post has not been verified.  Additionally, Oren Brazilay, president of the local EMT workers union, said the information looked like third party information that his members would not have released.  He said the consequences for his members of releasing said information include “violations,” “discipline,” “suspensions,” and “civil penalties.” Dr. Keith Wesley, the author of several EMS textbooks, said the post “sounds like standard American Heart Association guidelines, which most EMS agencies use.”

The 4chan post also references the use of Sodium Bicarbonate, a compound Wesley says is designed to “reverse the acid buildup in the blood from prolonged cardiac arrest.” This is consistent with the official reports.

All in all, the 4chan user posted six times about Epstein’s suicide and his accounts of how long paramedics attempted to resuscitate Epstein, both in his jail cell and in the hospital matched the official reports.

“Pt transported to Lower Manhattan ER and worked for 20 minutes and called. Hospital administrator was alerted, preparing statements,” read the post.

According to a statement released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, prison staff “requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Epstein was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff.”

As of now, it’s unclear whether an EMT or a hospital staffer wrote the original post, but both would have had access to the information that ended up on 4chan.

There’s also a chance, given how general some of the information was, that this 4chan post was just an act of serendipitous trolling, one that wasn’t truly connected to Epstein in any way. Considering users post on 4chan anonymously, the FDNY will likely have to litigate to figure out who actually sent these messages.

 

[Image via mugshot.]

Matt is an Editor at Law & Crime and former Editor-in-Chief of Popdust

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