If there's anything that right and left can currently unite on it's that A. Jefferey Epstein was a perverted scumbag that none of us are particularly upset is gone and B. that this is suspicious as hell.

From being taken off suicide watch after six days (what he just got over it?) after what was considered a previous attempt — never mind that he claimed the large, ex-police officer awaiting trial for murder cellmate beat him up — to being put in a cell without any cameras, to having said cellmate moved just before his death, to his broke hyoid bone, things are not adding up, to say the least.

I'm generally not one to subscribe to conspiracy theories — indeed, a friend points out this doesn't rise to conspiracy, but looks more like blatant lawlessness — but after 27 years in the newspaper business, much of that as an investigative journalist, I've got a finely-tuned BS detector and this thing stinks. This thing would stink on a dunghill.

I'm not going to suggest any one powerful figure had him done in — the tinfoil hats on both sides have been doing plenty of finger pointing — I will say, however, that Epstein was a dead man from the minute he was arrested.

First, it's clear he was blackmailing some very powerful people. He simply knew too much. The only question here was how he was going to die.

If he ended up in prison he was looking at a short, brutal life of nightly sexual assaults before being shanked in the cafeteria line. If by some chance he managed to sing well enough to get another sweet-heart deal — or some judge gave him bail, his life wasn't worth a plug-nickel on the streets.

The problems here are two-fold. First, there's a good chance the real investigation dies with him. Not that I expect Attorney General William Barr to back down, but the death of Epstein give the powerful people who used his "services" time to clear out evidence and work to slow the investigation. Second, it's pretty clear, to me at least, that if nothing else palms were likely greased to make sure Epstein and means and opportunity to off himself.

This is a fundamental violation of the Rule of Law in this country.

The real lesson here is that equal justice before the law — always more an ideal than a reality, I admit, but the system has largely worked — means nothing for the billionaire class. Before you start screaming "conservatives" with that, there's a lot of "progressive" billionaires too.

I have no problem with rich people, nor billionaires per se.

However we have a situation in this nation where the wealthy and powerful can no longer be held accountable at all. Where the average Joe has no faith in the justice system, or that the powerful can be called to account.

Where this leads I hesitate to speculate — I have several fears — but certainly no where good.

If Epstein's powerful compatriots are not held to account, and swiftly, if the people who allowed him to commit suicide — or worse — are not held to account, if Ghislane Maxwell, his alleged madam, and the rest of his enablers are not held to account, then it may be a blow to the rule of law in this nation from which we will never recover.

God will it not so.

All IMHO, of course

— Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. He can be emailed at prichardson@morningsun.net, or follow him on Twitter @PittEditor.