Investigations have revealed that two guards fell asleep while they were supposed to be checking on Jeffrey Epstein — the disgraced financial mogul who was facing sex trafficking charges — every 30 minutes.
According to the New York Times, the prison staffers failed to check on Epstein for as many as three hours. This information became available Tuesday after two guards were placed on administrative leave, and the warden of the jail was temporarily reassigned for the remainder of the investigation.
The two officers who were tasked with checking on Epstein could now be facing federal charges for falsely recording on a log that they completed their checks every 30 minutes as they were instructed.
On Monday, Attorney General William Barr ordered that the Justice Department look closely into how Mr. Epstein had managed to commit suicide while being under suicide watch. The investigation revealed that Epstein was taken off suicide watch 12 days earlier.
The warden of Metropolitan Correctional Center, Lamine N’Diaye, will be transferred to a Bureau of Prisons office in Philadelphia for the remainder of the F.B.I. and their investigation alongside the Justice Department’s inspector general conduct inquiries. The Justice Department said in a statement that additional punitive actions may be necessary depending on the result of the investigation.
Prison staff discovered Epstein, 66, dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. He had apparently hanged himself with a bed sheet, likely fastening the sheet to a top bunk and pitching himself forward, law enforcement and prison officials suggested.
On July 6, Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on charges of sex trafficking of dozens of minor at his mansions in New York and Florida. Epstein attempted to post bail shortly after his arrest but was denied because of an alleged safe that contained thousands of dollars in cash and fake passports. This led the judge to believe he would be a flight risk.
On July 23, it was reported that Jeffrey Epstein attempted to commit suicide in his jail cell, which prompted him to be placed on suicide watch. Apparently, just six days later, prison officials determined he was no longer a threat to himself, and he returned to a regular cell.
According to the New York Times, it is standard in New York prisons to place people who have recently been on suicide watch with a cellmate. Upon being taken off suicide watch, he was placed with a cellmate, but that cellmate was transferred out of the cell, and never replaced—giving Mr. Epstein the opportunity to be alone on Friday night.