Barr alleges 'irregularities' in prison where Epstein died

Published on Tuesday, 13 August 2019 13:38
Written by The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - Attorney General William Barr said Monday that there were “serious irregularities” at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life as he awaited trial on charges he sexually abused underage girls.

The 66-year-old financier was found Saturday morning in his cell at the chronically short-staffed Metropolitan Correctional Center, in a unit known for holding notorious prisoners under extremely tight security.

“I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Barr said at a police conference in New Orleans. “We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation. The FBI and the office of inspector general are doing just that.”

He added: “We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”

The manner in which Epstein killed himself has not been announced. An autopsy was performed Sunday, but New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said investigators were awaiting further information.

A private pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, observed the autopsy at the request of Epstein’s lawyers. Baden was the city’s chief medical examiner in the late 1970s and has been called as an expert witness in high-profile cases, including O.J. Simpson’s 1994 murder trial.

Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found in his cell a little over two weeks ago with bruises on his neck, a person familiar with the jail’s operations told The Associated Press. But he had been taken off the suicide watch at the end of July, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss jail operations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Inmates on suicide watch are subjected to 24 hours per day of “direct, continuous observation,” according to U.S. Bureau of Prisons policy.

They are also issued tear-resistant clothing to thwart attempts to fashion nooses and are placed in cells that are stripped of furniture or fixtures they could use to kill themselves.

After being returned to the jail’s special housing unit, Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by a guard every 30 minutes, but that was not done the night before his death, the person familiar with the matter told the AP.



Posted in The Bristol Press, on Tuesday, 13 August 2019 13:38. Updated: Tuesday, 13 August 2019 13:40.