The New York City prison cellmate of Jeffrey Epstein was transferred the day prior to the millionaire investor’s apparent suicide on Saturday morning, according to a report.
The Washington Post reported:
Officers should have been checking on Epstein, who was being held in a special housing unit of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City, every 30 minutes, and, under normal circumstances, he also should have had a cellmate, according to the person familiar with the matter and union officials representing facility employees.
But a person who had been assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday, and — for reasons that investigators are still exploring — he did not receive a new cellmate, the person familiar with the matter said Sunday night. That left Epstein, who had previously been placed on suicide watch, alone and unmonitored — at least in the hours before his death — by even those officers assigned to guard him. [emphasis added]
The details of how Epstein died in his Manhattan jail cell over the weekend have yet to be released, but medical officials have performed an autopsy on the high-profile inmate accused of sexually abusing and trafficking young girls.
Epstein’s abrupt death Saturday cut short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of a high-flying financier with connections to celebrities and presidents, though prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
Epstein had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month. He had pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that the autopsy on Epstein was performed Sunday. She did not release a determination, saying it was “pending further information.”
According to the Associated Press, the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was staffed with one guard working a fifth-straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, according to the person familiar with the matter. However, he was taken off the watch at the end of July and therefore wasn’t on it at the time of his death, the Associated Press reported.
Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who worked at three federal prisons, told NBC News that Epstein’s removal from the suicide watch list is “shocking.”
“For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking. For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances. You leave him on suicide watch until he’s out of there,” Lindsay said. “It’s too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer.”
Shortly after Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr ordered the Department of Justice’s inspector general and the FBI to investigate the incident.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Barr said in a statement. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
Last week, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released, related to a since-settled lawsuit against Epstein’s ex-girlfriend by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers. The records contain graphic allegations against Epstein, as well as the transcript of a 2016 deposition of Epstein in which he repeatedly refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
Two Democrat politicians — former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Sen. George Mitchell (ME) — were named in the allegations. Both deny any wrongdoing.
______________________________________________________________________________Guards on Jeffrey Epstein’s unit were working extreme overtime shifts to make up for staffing shortages the night of his apparent suicide, a person familiar with the jail’s operations tells The Associated Press.
The person familiar with the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s operations told The Associated Press on Sunday that one guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization to discuss jail operations publicly.
The jail staff failed to follow protocols leading up to Epstein’s death , according to a report from The New York Times , deepening the fallout from what led to the highly connected financier’s apparent suicide.
Epstein should have been checked on by guards in his cell every 30 minutes, but that didn’t happen the night before his apparent suicide, a law enforcement official told the Times.
The Times spoke to the official on the condition of anonymity. The Associated Press has not independently confirmed the information.
Full Coverage: Jeffrey Epstein
A law enforcement source also said he was alone in his cell Saturday night after his cellmate was transferred. An official with knowledge of the investigation told the Times that the Justice Department was told Epstein would have a cellmate and be monitored by a guard every 30 minutes.
The mystery surrounding how he was able to kill himself in jail comes as investigators have been digging into allegations of sexual abuse and conspiracy against Epstein . An additional federal investigation was launched Saturday after the Federal Bureau of Prison said Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell at a high-security jail in Manhattan. He was later pronounced dead from an apparent suicide, the BOP said. His abrupt death cuts short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of the high-flying financier with connections to celebrities and presidents , though prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss it publicly. But he was taken off the watch at the end of July and therefore wasn’t on it at the time of his death, the person said.
Attorney General William Barr, calling for an investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death while in federal custody.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said in a statement.
Epstein, 66, had been denied bail and faced up to 45 years behind bars on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month. He had pleaded not guilty and was awaiting trial.
The federal investigation into the allegations remains ongoing, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said. He noted in a statement Saturday that the indictment against Epstein includes a conspiracy charge, suggesting others could face charges in the case.
Epstein’s death raises questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of such high-profile inmates. In October, Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote Saturday in a scathing letter to Barr that “heads must roll” after the incident.
“Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” Sasse wrote.
Epstein’s removal from suicide watch would have been approved by both the warden of the jail and the facility’s chief psychologist, said Jack Donson, a former prison official who worked for the Bureau of Prisons for more than two decades.
On Friday, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released related to a since-settled lawsuit against Epstein’s ex-girlfriend by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers. The records contain graphic allegations against Epstein, as well as the transcript of a 2016 deposition of Epstein in which he repeatedly refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.
Giuffre, in an interview with The New York Times , said she’s grateful Epstein will never harm anyone again, but is angry that there would be no chance to see him answer for his conduct.
“We’ve worked so hard to get here, and he stole that from us, too,” she told the newspaper.
Sigrid McCawley, Giuffre’s attorney, said Epstein’s suicide less than 24 hours after the documents were unsealed “is no coincidence.” McCawley urged authorities to continue their investigation, focusing on Epstein associates who she said “participated and facilitated Epstein’s horrifying sex trafficking scheme.”
Epstein’s arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.
Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by The Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.
His lawyers maintained that the new charges in New York were covered by the 2008 plea deal and that Epstein hadn’t had any illicit contact with underage girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.
Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit. He socialized with princes and presidents and lived on a 100-acre private Caribbean island and one of the biggest mansions in New York.
Sisak reported from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Balsamo from Savannah, Georgia. Associated Press writers Curt Anderson, Jennifer Peltz, David Klepper and Larry Neumeister contributed to this report.
______________________________________________________________________________Some Hollywood figures let the Russia and Trump conspiracy theories fly on the news that convicted pedophile and accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his Metropolitan Correctional Center prison cell on Saturday morning, after he had reportedly been taken off of suicide watch.
“Vlad” said actor Ron Perlman, a clear reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Showtime’s Billions creator Brian Koppelman wasn’t as coy as Perlman, writing “Epstein suicide. Sure. Seems likely. Probably what happened. Hey, folks, we’re Russia now. Enjoy it.”
Epstein suicide. Sure. Seems likely. Probably what happened.
Hey, folks, we’re Russia now. Enjoy it.
Guardians of the Galaxy and Gruber star Dave Bautista responded to a Twitter user asking “was Epstein ‘Suicided’? by saying “Is that the same thing as Putin’d?”
Is that the same thing as Putin’d?
Actor George Takei also suggested a Russia connection, asking his Twitter followers if Epstein’s death “sounds like something that would happen in Russia.”
“It is disturbing that a powerful billionaire accused of sex trafficking minors, who was already on suicide watch, has died while in federal custody, his many secrets about other powerful men going with him to the grave. This sounds like something that would happen in Russia, no?” Takei said.
It is disturbing that a powerful billionaire accused of sex trafficking minors, who was already on suicide watch, has died while in federal custody, his many secrets about other powerful men going with him to the grave. This sounds like something that would happen in Russia, no?
Jeffrey Epstein was reportedly found unresponsive in his cell at around 6:30 a.m. His death was “an apparent suicide,” the Department of Justice said.
The millionaire, who counted Bill and Hillary Clinton among his many powerful friends, was apparently taken off suicide watch just weeks after attempting to harm himself. Breitbart News reported:
On July 23, the 66-year-old was found unconscious with marks on his neck. He was put on suicide watch for six days before being returned to his cell in a high-security part of the jail, the New York Times reported.
The Department of Justice’s inspector general and the FBI immediately launched probes as politicians, law enforcement officials, and alleged victims expressed shock that Epstein could take his own life.
Epstein’s death came one day after a New York court released a tranche of sealed legal documents, providing new details about what prosecutors allege was Epstein’s sex-trafficking operation.
The suspicious timing and details surrounding Epstein’s death resulted in some Hollywood stars jumping to conclusions about his passing, the blame being placed on President Trump and even Attorney General William Barr.
“I guess they think a country dumb enough to elect Trump is stupid enough to believe Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. Or not. Love that they did it on the traditional Friday night/early Saturday morning “document dump” time when they know the fewest people will follow it.” said documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.
I guess they think a country dumb enough to elect Trump is stupid enough to believe Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide. Or not. Love that they did it on the traditional Friday night/early Saturday morning “document dump” time when they know the fewest people will follow it.
Actor-comedian Patton Oswalt joked that “Trump had him killed.”
“I mean, Trump had him killed. Mon dieu, you fucking idiots.” — Hercule Poirot, MURDER ON THE LOLITA EXPRESS, page 2
Actor Zach Braff wrote “Boss, should we make it look like a hanging or overdose?” with an image of Barr attached to his tweet.
Debra Messing appeared to suggest that Trump has “finally killed someone on 5th Avenue.”
He finally killed someone on 5th Avenue.
Check out all the Hollywood reaction below.
The can of Jeffrey Epstein’s worms has been opened. And they will be crawling all over some very powerful people. Have a nice vacation Mr. President.
Remember the scene in the Godfather? Tom Hagen who talks of Roman traitors to Frankie Pentangeli who then kills himself… life imitating art? Powerful people didn’t want Epstein to talk. I want to find out who.
the CO answered the shadowy figure who was just…thinking aloud;
“i wonder how jeffrey will die”
It is absolutely unfathomable that he would have had the opportunity to take his own life and create this storm of chaos, unless it was facilitated by those on the inside.
Everyone in a position to be able to “look the other way” should immediately be arrested and investigated.
Suicide is not a laughing matter except in the case of Jeffrey Epstein.
Barr gave Epstein enough rope to close this case.
Jeffrey Epstein was under watch of the Donald Trump administration and Bill Barr in the Justice Department. And there was a previous attempt at suicide we are told. NO EXCUSES! #TrumpBodyCount Prince Andrew #EpsteinFiles #EpsteinMurder #AMJoy
Epstein flipped HARD. He knew they were gonna kill him so they faked his death on a Saturday morning. They took him out and put him in witness protection, Everybody is about to burn…
Just kidding, they killed him like a dictator thug in a banana republic. Just wanted U2 smile
After autopsy, cause of Jeffrey Epstein’s death awaits ‘further information’
The New York City medical examiner’s office said Sunday that it had completed an autopsy on the financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein but that it needed more information before determining the cause of death.
Multiple people briefed on the investigation told NBC News that suicide remains the presumed cause of death and that no sign of foul play has emerged in the day and a half since Epstein, 66, was found unresponsive in his federal jail cell in lower Manhattan on Saturday.
Epstein was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, even though he was found in his cell two weeks ago with marks on his neck, multiple people familiar with the investigation said.
Attorney General William Barr said Saturday that he was “appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead” while in federal custody. Barr said the Justice Department’s inspector general was opening an investigation.
Unfounded conspiracy theories flourished online in the wake of Epstein’s death, many of them trying to blame it on President Donald Trump or former President Bill Clinton, both of whom were associated with Epstein in the past.
The theories — at least one of which was shared by Trump himself — had no evidence to support the outlandish ideas, and authorities said at the time that they suspected no foul play.
The FBI does not normally look into suicides at a federal Bureau of Prisons facility, but a senior law enforcement official said that it was investigating given the nature of this case and out of an “abundance of caution.”
Epstein’s death came the day after a trove of court documents was unsealed, providing new details about his alleged sex trafficking.
He was arrested July 6 at an airport in Teterboro, New Jersey, as he returned from Paris on a private jet. He was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking and could have faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.
He pleaded not guilty and was denied bail.
The indictment said he sought out minors, some as young as 14, from at least 2002 through 2005 and paid them hundreds of dollars in cash for sex at either his Manhattan townhouse or his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, federal prosecutors revealed last month.
A federal appeals court unsealed almost 2,000 pages of documents Friday on Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite and Epstein’s former girlfriend. The documents relate to a 2015 defamation lawsuit filed against Maxwell by an alleged victim, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, which was settled out of court in 2017.
Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15after she was recruited outside her New York City high school, said his death did little for the deep scars that she and her fellow victims still carry.
“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,” she said in a statement. “Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”
Former wardens and veterans of the federal prison system said that they were shocked by the decision to remove Epstein from suicide watch given his high-profile case.
“For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking,” Cameron Lindsay, a former warden who worked at three federal facilities, said. “For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances.”
Multiple people briefed on the investigation said that Epstein underwent a psychiatric evaluation on or about July 29, after which he was cleared from suicide watch and returned to a cell in the Special Housing Unit.