Speaking at a conference in New Orleans, Attorney General William Barr said that there were “serious irregularities” at the Manhattan jail that housed accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The nation’s most hated inmate was found dead in an apparent suicide early Saturday morning.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Barr told attendees at a national policing conference Monday morning.
The attorney general said that he was “appalled” and “angry” to learn of the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s “failure to adequately secure this prisoner.”
The Washington Post reported that checks of Epstein’s cell were supposed to take place every 30 minutes, but guards failed to check on him for “several” hours. Both guards assigned to Epstein’s cell were reportedly working overtime, one for his fifth straight day.
“If it wasn’t Mr. Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution,” said Serene Gregg, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148.
ABC News further reported that Epstein’s lawyers had requested that he be removed from suicide watch. He underwent more than one psychiatric evaluation before prison officials consented.
Also per ABC, the prison contains surveillance cameras, but none of the cameras are focused inside individual cells. Therefore no camera was in position to record Epstein’s final acts. It is possible, however, that the cameras would show whether doors to the unit were accessed by unauthorized personnel.
Mr. Epstein’s autopsy was completed on Sunday by Barbara Sampson, the chief medical examiner of New York City, but details have not been released. The New York Times reported that Sampson “is confident the cause of death is suicide by hanging,” but she “wants more information from law enforcement” before finalizing her report.
In his remarks, Barr warned Epstein’s associates that his death would not end the investigation.
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” Barr said.