The House Judiciary committee is demanding answers from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Jeffrey Epstein’s death, including who knew he was taken off suicide watch and if anyone outside the Justice Department was told.
Representatives Jerry Nadler and Chris Collins, the top Democrat and Republican lawmakers on the panel, sent a letter to the bureau on Monday outlining 23 questions on the accused pedophile’s death, noting his passing ‘demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice.’
The lawmakers, whose committee oversees the Department of Justice and its prison bureau, ask if Epstein’s removal from suicide watch was ‘discussed with or directed by any supervisory personnel or leadership of BOP or any DOJ personnel or executive branch personnel outside of BOP?’
And, they add: ‘Who at BOP, DOJ, and elsewhere in the executive branch was notified of the termination of Mr. Epstein’s suicide watch and when?’
Their queries into who outside the prison could have known about Epstein’s removal from suicide watch will likely stroke the fires of conspiracy theories that have spread online in the wake of the billionaire pedophile’s death.
The House Judiciary committee is demanding answers from the Federal Bureau of Prisons on Jeffrey Epstein’s death
Representatives Jerry Nadler (left) and Chris Collins (right), the top Democrat and Republican lawmakers on the panel, sent a letter to the bureau on Monday outlining 23 questions on Epstein’s death
Nadler and Collins also want to know if any video footage is available of or near Epstein’s cell.
‘Were any video surveillance cameras placed in or near Mr. Epstein’s cell? Were they operational in the hours prior to and during the time of the injury to and death of Mr. Epstein? Did they indicate or do recordings show the circumstances that led to Mr. Epstein’s death, or the presence of any other person during this time period?’ they inquire.
Epstein allegedly committed suicide in his Manhattan jail cell on Saturday morning just 24 hours after a New York court unsealed 2,000 pages of new documents that implicated a number of high-profile men in his sex trafficking scandal.
The former financier, 66, was reported to have been taken off CCTV surveillance that morning at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown Manhattan. He had been on 24-hour watch after he was hospitalized following an unsuccessful suicide attempt two weeks ago.
The nature and timing of Epstein’s death has prompted widespread speculation and initiated calls for an investigation.
Additionally, conspiracy theories have abounded in the hours after his death.
President Donald Trump, who knew Epstein but disavowed any friendship with him, sparked outrage when he retweeted a baseless conspiracy theory that Bill Clinton was involved.
Several lawmakers have called for an investigation into what happened but Nadler and Collin’s letter is the first formal inquiry to come out of Congress. Attorney General William Barr has already announced the Justice Department’s internal watchdog will investigate the matter.
The lawmakers’ letter was sent to Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz and they ask for a response by August 21.
Representatives Jerry Nadler and Chris Collins, the top Democrat and Republican lawmakers on the panel, sent the above letter to Acting Director of the Bureau of Prisons Hugh Hurwitz and they ask for a response by August 21
Their questions include queries about what kind of mental evaluations Epstein may have received while in federal custody and asks for a description of the cell where he was held.
‘Please describe the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s confinement, including whether he was housed alone for the entirety of his incarceration or with other inmates, and the conditions of the cell or cells where he was confined,’ they ask.
The lawmakers also ask about the monitoring process for inmates – those on suicide watch and those not.
‘Please describe the nature of BOP’s monitoring of Mr. Epstein while on suicide watch and while not on suicide watch, including, under both circumstances, the number of correctional officers assigned to monitor him, and the frequency and nature of check-ins or contact with Mr. Epstein by correctional officers,’ they ask.
They also want to know how Epstein came to be removed from suicide watch.
‘It is our understanding that BOP policy states that only the “program coordinator” for a facility’s suicide prevention program has the authority to remove an inmate from suicide watch. Is this correct?,’ the lawmakers ask.
‘Does MCC New York have such a program coordinator? Did he or she authorize the removal of Mr. Epstein from suicide watch? If not, who did?,’ they inquire.
Corrections officers had not checked on the pedophile for several hours before he hanged himself in his cell. He had been left alone in his cell despite guards being required to look in on him every 30 minutes, sources said
A cell inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center is pictured. It is not thought Epstein was held in this style of cell and instead had been left alone in a bare cell with paper-like sheets, no light fixture and no bars
The lawmakers also demand answers about the corrections officers working in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York.
‘When the relevant supervisory personnel and correctional staff at MCC New York last receive suicide prevention training?,’ they write.
They also demand a copy of Epstein’s autopsy.
His exact cause of death has not yet been released but New York City’s chief medical examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said an autopsy was carried out on Sunday and a source told The New York Times that Sampson was ‘confident’ Epstein died by his own hands.
Since Epstein’s suicide, there has been widespread speculation as to how he managed to kill himself despite an earlier failed attempt to take his own life last month.
Prison procedure dictates that inmates goes through a screening process to determine if they are at risk of harming or killing themselves.
If an inmate attempts suicide or harms themselves, as Epstein appears to have on July 24, they are placed under 24 hour supervision in a special cell with no access to material items.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck but he was taken off the watch at the end of July and therefore wasn’t on it at the time of his death, a source has said.
A corrections officers had also not checked on the pedophile for several hours before he hanged himself in his cell in the special housing unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
He had been left alone there despite guards being required to look in on him every 30 minutes, sources told The Washington Post.
And while the 66-year-old should have had a cellmate, the inmate scheduled to move in with him was mysteriously transferred on Friday just hours before he killed himself.
Investigators are said to be still looking into why Epstein, who had previously been on suicide watch, did not receive a new cellmate and how he was left alone and unmonitored.
In a statement on Saturday, Barr said: ‘Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.’
He added: ‘In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of the death.’
Barr said Monday: ‘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.’