Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire accused of sex trafficking, was found dead in his New York jail cell Saturday morning in an apparent suicide. Details of his death emerged first through ABC News and quickly circulated among New York media outlets, but Lynne Patton, regional administrator at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, had another idea of what happened.
“Hillary’d!!” she posted on Instagram around 10 a.m., alongside a screenshot of a Daily Mail story that described Epstein’s manner of death. She added the hashtag, “#VinceFosterPartTwo,” a reference to the former Clinton aide whose death by suicide has fueled conspiracy theories for more than two decades.
Patton, one of the highest-ranking officials at HUD, was not alone in seizing on conspiracy theories. Within hours of Epstein’s death, “Clintons” and “ClintonBodyCount” were among the highest-trending topics on Twitter. Among the biggest drivers of the latter hashtag were an Infowars host and two accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy, according to Alex Kaplan, a Media Matters researcher who focuses on far-right media.