2019-08-13 11:45:161 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
Everyone is looking to throw blame around for Jeffrey Epstein's prison suicide, and some of them are even throwing out conspiracy theories. Attorney General William Barr has a good start on who he's going to blame, and that's prison officials, believing the death was their "failure." He's also vowing to prosecute co-conspirators of Epstein's crimes.
Epstein did a short stint in prison a decade ago for his sex crimes with minors and was hit with additional charges in July for the same incidents, accused of running a sex-trafficking ring that involved girls as young as 14.
After the 66-year-old was picked up on these additional charges, he was sent to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan to await trial, despite requesting home monitoring.
Last month he was found with marks on his neck with the belief he was either trying to commit suicide or fake an attempt or attack. He was taken off suicide watch, was not checked on for several hours, and was then found hanging in his cell.
The Justice Department's inspector general, the FBI, and the New York City medical examiner have all been investigating why policy wasn't followed, allowing Epstein to take his own life and cheat his accusers out of the chance to face him in court.
Speaking to law enforcement officials in News Orleans on Monday, along with calling the incident a "failure" of federal prison officials, Barr also pointed to "irregularities" in Epstein's case.
Additionally, the attorney made clear that the investigation into Epstein's crimes will continue, even if he cannot be prosecuted.
"Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was explicitly with Epstein," said Barr. "Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice, and they will get it."
ABC News showed video on Monday of personnel from the FBI and Customs and Border Protection on a dock of a private island that is owned by Epstein.
Barr said he "was appalled ... and, frankly, angry" upon finding out about the correctional center's "failure to adequately secure" the billionaire.
"We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation," he added, vowing to "get to the bottom of what happened," and promising, "There will be accountability."
A bipartisan group of House Judiciary Committee leaders is looking for answers as well. They sent a letter to acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, Hugh Hurwitz, asking about Epstein's time in detention and stating his death "demonstrates severe miscarriages of our deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice."
What has come under scrutiny is why Epstein was not checked on every 30 minutes, as he should have been in the special housing unit where he was held. Additionally, he should have had a cellmate, but the man assigned to share his cell with him on Friday was transferred for unknown reasons, leaving him alone and unmonitored.
Adding to this, the president of American Federation of Government Employees Local 3148 said Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center is operating with less than 70 percent of needed correctional officers, causing current staff to work mandatory overtime. One of the officers assigned to Epstein's unit didn't even normally work as a correctional officer.
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