Guards at the New York City jail where millionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein was found dead Saturday did not conduct required checks on prisoners the previous night, according to a report.
Epstein died of a suspected suicide after being found unresponsive in his Manhattan Correctional Center cell where he was being held on sex trafficking charges. At approximately 6:30 a.m., Epstein was “found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide,” the Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a news release.
Staff conducted life-saving measures and Epstein was transported by ambulance to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Around 7:30 a.m., a gurney carrying a man who looked like Epstein was wheeled out of the jail and taken to NewYork-Presbyterian Lower Manhattan Hospital, the New York Post reported.
“At the MCC, two jail guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed overnight, according to the source. In addition, every 15 minutes guards are required to make another check on prisoners who are on suicide watch,” Reuters reports.
In July, Epstein was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck and was placed on suicide watch.
Attorney General William Barr has directed the FBI and Department of Justice inspector general to launch a full investigation into Epstein’s death.
A statement via Barr reads:
I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. 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.
In a separate statement, Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said his office’s probe into the deceased financier will continue:
Today’s events are disturbing, and we are deeply aware of their potential to present yet another hurdle to giving Epstein’s many victims their day in Court. To those brave young women who have already come forward and to the many others who have yet to do so, let me reiterate that we remain committed to standing for you, and our investigation of the conduct charged in the Indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.
Meanwhile, an attorney for Epstein is blaming the federal government, the media, and the judge overseeing his client’s case for the millionaire’s death.
Marc Fernich told Fox News:
All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein’s blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior. I call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death. The public needs to know exactly what happened and why – and how his custodians could have let it occur.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to state charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution. He served 13 months, including work release, and registered as a sex offender in Florida. Epstein had been accused of running an international sex trafficking operation.
The UPI contributed to this report.