An autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein's body discovered multiple fractures in his neck, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday, offering the first findings on the United States financier's death in prison by apparent suicide.
Those familiar with the autopsy told the newspaper the broken bones included the hyoid bone, which is near the Adam's apple. Such injuries can be associated with hanging suicides - especially in older individuals.
Best known in MMA circles for a vicious 1998 knockout loss to Frank Shamrock at UFC 16, Zinoviev, 53, told New York Magazine's Intelligencer "somebody helped him to do that" when reacting to Epstein's suicide by hanging.
Jeffrey Epstein's death in prison from an apparent suicide as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges came after newly released testimony linked the disgraced financier to several high-profile personalities. He denied the charges but faced up to 45 years in jail if found guilty.
The New York Medical Examiner's office could not be reached for comment early on Thursday and a representative did not immediately respond to Reuters by phone or text messages.
His death sparked conspiracy theories that someone with money and power could have "assisted" him in his suicide efforts, given Epstein's circle of rich and powerful acquaintances.
If Epstein's neck fracture was fresh, Hua said, then "at a minimum, it's a very unusual suicide".
Epstein's family hired its own pathologist, Michael Baden, who was present during the autopsy, according to the source, and he is also not disputing preliminary findings from the medical examiner that Epstein killed himself.
According to the New York Post, Epstein was in good spirits in the hours before his death, having told his lawyers "I'll see you Sunday" during their last meeting.
Attorney General William Barr acknowledged "serious irregularities" at the prison where Epstein was being held.
Epstein, 66, who once counted Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic former President Bill Clinton as friends, was found unresponsive in his cell on Saturday morning at the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in lower Manhattan, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
They must also pass a physical-abilities test that measures their "ability to perform the essential functions of a correctional worker", such as detecting movement, climbing ladders and using handcuffs.
The hyoid bone played a central role in a heated dispute previous year over another high-profile death in NY, that of Eric Garner.
But Sampson rejected that claim, saying she stood by her conclusion that Garner died of "compression of neck (chokehold), compression of chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police".