FILE- In this July 30, 2008 file photo, Jeffrey Epstein is shown in custody in West Palm Beach, Fla. Labor Secretary nominee Alexander Acosta is expected to face questions at his Senate confirmation hearing about an unusual plea deal he oversaw for Epstein, a Florida billionaire and sex offender, as U.S. attorney in Miami. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Post, Uma Sanghvi, File)/Palm Beach Post via AP)

 

Facts/rumors have begun to circulate in the wake of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide on Saturday morning. It’s being widely reported that guards at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), where he had been held in solitary confinement, failed to perform mandatory inmate checks on the night of Epstein’s death.

According to Reuters, “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.”

On Saturday, NBC reported that Epstein had not been on suicide watch. A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed this to the New York Post.

This raises the question of why Epstein was not on suicide watch. An Associated Press article indicated he had been taken off suicide watch at the end of July. Earlier that month, he had been found in his cell nearly unconscious with bruising on his neck. Epstein was put on watch and “given daily psychiatric evaluations. It remains unclear whether those injuries were the result of an assault or a suicide attempt.”

A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons told Fox News:

Epstein had been housed in the jail’s Special Housing Unit, a heavily secured part of the facility that separates high-profile inmates from the general population. Until recently, the same unit had been home to the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is now serving a life sentence at the so-called Supermax prison in Colorado.

Attorney General William Barr was said to have been “livid” when he heard the news. He immediately ordered both the FBI and the DOJ inspector general to open investigations into Epstein’s death.

Barr’s statement 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.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, also issued a statement:

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.

On Friday, over 2,000 records from a 2015 lawsuit filed against Epstein and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, were unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s office in the Southern District of New York. The plaintiff, Virginia Giuffre was one of their alleged victims. It’s unknown if Epstein’s death was at all related to this development. I posted about that here.

Fox News reported the details:

Giuffre claimed in a May 2016 deposition to have been trafficked to have sex with and provide erotic massages to powerful politicians, foreign leaders and well-heeled businessmen. In ordering the documents released, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit also warned that the allegations contained within them are not necessarily proven.

Giuffre alleged in her own deposition that she was allegedly forced to have sex with Richardson, 71, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Hedge Fund manager Glenn Dubin, American scientist Marvin Minsky, “another prince,” “a large hotel chain owner,” Stephen Kauffman, and model scout Jean Luc Brunell.

It’s important to note that all of these men have strenuously denied these allegations.

Epstein, who had pleaded not guilty to federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last month, faced a sentence of up to 45 years. He was 66-years-old and if convicted, could expect to spend the rest of his life in prison.

On Saturday, Fox published a comprehensive “timeline of sexual abuse allegations and related legal cases,” which outlines the case against Epstein.