Corrections officers could've 'falsified reports' about Epstein
Corrections officers at a New York prison where Jeffrey Epstein (pictured) was being held may have falsified reports that they checked on the billionaire pedophile
Corrections officers at a New York prison where Jeffrey Epstein was being held are accused of falling asleep on the job and falsifying logs to make it appear as if they checked on the billionaire pedophile on the night of his apparent suicide.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center's two guards claimed to have checked on Epstein every 30 minutes, but had actually been asleep for up to the three hours, officials familiar with the ongoing probe told The New York Times.
Epstein is believed to have killed himself early Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was awaiting trial in a sex trafficking case.
The abrupt death of the 66-year-old disgraced financier cut short a criminal prosecution that threatened to implicate some of the world's richest, most powerful men.
Surveillance video reviewed after the death showed guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, according to the person familiar with the investigation.
Epstein was on suicide watch after he apparently attempted to hang himself on July 23. He had been taken off suicide watch about a week later.
He was supposed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 minutes, but investigators have learned those checks were not done for several hours before Epstein was found unresponsive, according to reports.
On Monday it was reported that a 'fill-in' guard was in place because of the major shortages at the prison where staff are said to work 18 hour shifts and cannot refuse overtime.
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Sources claim that employees of the Metropolitan Correctional Center haven been complaining about being overworked with 60 or more hours per week
A second person familiar with operations at the jail said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. Rudy Giuliani told Fox News yesterday, in his experience the MCC would provide inmates on suicide watch with bedsheets made of paper
Esptein's final 24 hours:
August 9: Bombshell documents are unsealed relating to a defamation case against Ghislaine Maxwell, accused of acting as Epstein's procurer of young women.
They name high profile associates of Epstein.
Later that day...
Epstein's cellmate is moved to another room. And Epstein is left alone in his cell for the remainder of last hours.
Every 30 minutes...
Guards should be checking Epstein, with one source telling Fox News, Epstein went unchecked for several hours.
Both men assigned to watch Epstein are working overtime. One of the guards is slogging through an 80-hour week.
6.30am: Epstein is found unresponsive in his cell hanging from a bedsheet.
6.39am: He is transferred to the New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan hospital in cardiac arrest.
7.30am: Pronounced dead.
The guards' union boss Serene Gregg told The Washington Post: 'If it wasn't Mr Epstein, it would have been somebody else, because of the conditions at that institution.
'It was only a matter of time for it to happen. It was inevitable. Our staff is severely overworked.'
It was not clear what the substitute's regular job was, but federal prisons facing shortages of fully trained guards have resorted to having other types of support staff fill in for correctional officers, including clerical workers and teachers.
In the days since Epstein's death a portrait has begun to emerge of Manhattan's federal detention center as a chronically understaffed facility that possibly made a series of missteps in handling its most high-profile inmate.
The American Federation of Government Employees claims workers there often work a double shift of 16 hours.
They can then be forced to work another hour or two if their relief does not arrive arrived and those who refuse the 'mandatory overtime' faces disciplinary action.
Gregg, president of AFGE Local 3148, told The Daily Beast: 'That is our normal. At some point, people are going to break.
'We have employees who sleep in their cars.'
The center itself is said to be covered in mold with leaks and pests including rodents and roaches. Clocks do not work, according to defense attorney Bruce Barket.
The two guards assigned to check on Epstein were both said to be working extreme overtime shifts the night the pedophile took his own life, a source has revealed.
The person said one guard was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another was working mandatory overtime.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck, according to the person familiar with the matter.
'I'm not a pedophile': Esptein's remorseless last interview
In a series of interviews with Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business Network in March this year, Epstein showed no remorse and instead downplayed his crimes.
He even compared himself to Robert Kraft at one point, who had a manual and oral act performed on him by massage workers, who were well past the age of consent, on two occasions at a Florida day spa.
'Only he went somewhere, and they came to me,' explained Epstein.
'I just want you to know I’m not a pedophile,' he told Gasparino during one interview.
Epstein made light of his previous criminal activity.
'Maybe the only thing worse than being called a pedophile is being called a hedge fund manager,' he joked.
Gasparino is very clear from the start that Epstein saw himself as above the law and learned nothing from his brief time behind bars.
'I should point out that Epstein, based on our conversations, didn’t seem like he believed he committed much of a crime,' Gasparino notes early in the piece.
'He was at times dismissive, and at others, he displayed gallows humor at his predicament, which was growing more acute by the day.'
Indeed, Epstein reflected at one point: 'It’s hard to believe that not so long ago people actually thought I was a good guy. And now people are ashamed to say they knew me.'
But he was taken off the watch at the end of July and therefore was not on it at the time of his death.
On Tuesday, authorities announced that the two guards who were supposed to be watching the financier were placed on leave while federal authorities investigate the death.
The move by the Justice Department came amid mounting evidence that the chronically understaffed prison may have bungled its responsibility to keep Epstein from harming himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teen girls.
Attorney General William Barr ordered warden Lamine N'Diaye temporarily assigned to the Bureau of Prisons' regional office while the FBI and the Justice Department's inspector general investigate. The two guards were not identified.
While the exact manner of Epstein's death has not been officially announced, a second person familiar with operations at the jail said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck. That person likewise spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason.
Under the jail's protocol, Epstein would not have been given a bedsheet had he been on suicide watch.
He was placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck, but he was later returned to the jail's special housing unit for inmates needing close supervision.
On Monday, Barr said that he was 'frankly angry to learn of the MCC's failure to adequately secure this prisoner'.
'We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.'
The warden of an institution in upstate New York has been named the acting warden at the jail.
Eric Young, president of the union council that represents prison guards, said that such reassignments are routinely done to 'protect the integrity of investigations until any formal action, if any, is warranted.'
Epstein(pictured) was being held without bail on federal sex trafficking charges that could have brought 45 years in prison
Federal prosecutors in New York are pursuing a parallel investigation into whether any of his associates will face charges for assisting him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of girls as young as 14
Jose Rojas, a union leader and teacher at a federal prison in Florida, said N'Diaye should be home without pay instead of being reassigned. He said it appears to him that the Bureau of Prisons is 'protecting him and putting the blame on officers.'
'I put this on the warden,' he said. 'If he would have had common sense and followed policy, we wouldn't be here discussing this.'
One of the guards had a different job in the jail and did not regularly perform correctional officer duties, the person said. The prison has been pressing non-custodial staff into working as correctional officers because staffing levels are less than 70 per cent of what they should be, union officials said.
The Bureau of Prisons considers all employees 'correctional workers' and trains them in 'basic correctional duties to secure the facility in the event of a disturbance and to provide inmate supervision,' according to a 2012 Government Accountability Office report on overcrowding.
All new employees are sent to a training academy in Georgia for a three-week 'Introduction to Correctional Techniques' course that covers firearms, self-defense, policies and procedures.
They must also pass a physical-abilities test that measures their 'ability to perform the essential functions of a correctional worker,' such as detecting movement, climbing ladders and using handcuffs.
Epstein was being held without bail on federal sex trafficking charges that could have brought 45 years in prison.
Federal prosecutors in New York are pursuing a parallel investigation into whether any of his associates will face charges for assisting him in what authorities say was his rampant sexual abuse of girls as young as 14.
According to police reports, FBI records and court documents, Epstein had a team of recruiters and other assistants who knew of his penchant for girls and lined up victims for him.
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