True crime isn’t just for podcasts. In 2019, plenty of criminal cases rocked the news, and we compiled a list of some of the most outrageous examples here.
For a start, the name Jeffrey Epstein returned to the news in the summer when the disgraced financier was arrested again on July 6, 2019, on federal charges for sex trafficking underage girls in Florida and New York. According to the indictment, Epstein was accused of sexually exploiting and abusing “dozens of minor girls at his homes in Manhattan, New York, and Palm Beach, Florida, among other locations.”
The businessman pleaded not guilty and potentially faced up to 45 years in prison if he was convicted of those new crimes. However, on August 20, 2019, Epstein was shockingly found dead in his Manhattan jail cell of an apparent suicide. New York authorities will keep investigating Epstein’s case and several women are still filing lawsuits against his estate, Vox reported on September 4, so although the indicted criminal is dead, we may continue to hear more about his crimes into 2020 — especially if the Epstein memes keep the story alive.
Then there was the Jussie Smollett case. On February 21, the Empire star was arrested for filing a false police report after he claimed that two men attacked and screamed “racial and homophobic slurs” at him, In Touch confirmed at the time. The 36-year-old initially said he was approached by two unknown offenders who “gained his attention by yelling out racial and homophobic slurs towards him,” and when the alleged crime was first reported, the Chicago police department said he was allegedly “battered” around his face and that “an unknown chemical substance” was poured on him.
But later, an Illinois grand jury found probable cause the actor staged the assault he reported to Chicago police in January. After he was charged with filing a false report, the actor was removed from the last two episodes of Empire that season.
By late March, however, all charges against Smollett were dropped. Smollett’s legal representation said at the time, “Jussie is relieved to have this situation behind him and is very much looking forward to getting back to focusing on his family, friends and career.” But the twists and turns of his case makes it one of the most outrageous of the year.
Check out our roundup of several intense true crime stories from 2019 in the gallery below.
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