The U.S. Justice Department has reassigned the warden who oversaw the federal facility where accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide and placed two other prison staffers on administrative leave, according to a report on Monday.
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U.S. Attorney General William Barr “directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign” the warden, Lamine N’Diaye, to a regional office pending an investigation into the circumstances that led to Epstein’s death, according to a statement obtained by the Washington Post. The identities of the two staffers placed on leave were not immediately known.
The U.S. Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Epstein, 66, hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Lower Manhattan and was found early Saturday morning, according to multiple reports. The financier had been placed on suicide watch after he was found with bruising on his neck weeks earlier, but was taken off by the end of July, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Associated Press.
Though internal protocols called for guards to check on Epstein’s welfare roughly every 30 minutes, correctional officers hadn’t checked on Epstein for hours before he was found dead, the Post reported, citing a source familiar with the matter.
Sounds of screams and shouts were heard coming from Epstein’s cell the morning he died, CBS reported, citing a source familiar with the matter. Corrections officers rushed into Epstein’s cell and attempted to revive him after he was found unresponsive in the federal jail facility. Workers could purportedly be heard saying “breathe, Epstein, breathe” while providing medical attention.
Epstein’s death while awaiting federal trial over child sex trafficking charges drew an immediate, bipartisan backlash, with top officials calling for an investigation into the circumstances that led to his death. Barr said he was “appalled” by the apparent suicide, adding that federal authorities would conduct a “thorough investigation” and “get to the bottom of what happened.”
Epstein’s relationships over the years with various world leaders, including alleged friendships with President Trump and former President Bill Clinton, sparked a wave of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, some of which posed that Epstein had been murdered.
Within hours of Epstein’s death, Trump retweeted a conspiracy theory which suggested that Epstein “had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead.”
Trump said on Tuesday that he wants a “full investigation” into the situation. When asked if he really believed Clinton was involved in Epstein’s death, Trump said he had “no idea.”
“I know he was on a plane 27 times and he said he was on the plane four times. But when they checked the plane logs, Bill Clinton, who was a very good friend of Epstein, he was on the plane about 27 or 28 times. So why did he say four times?” Trump said.
“The question you have to ask is, did Bill Clinton go to the island? Because Epstein had an island that was not a good place, as I understand it, and I was never there. So you have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island. That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot,” he added.
In response, Clinton’s press secretary, Angel Urena, tweeted that Trump’s comments were “the sound of the President of the United States’ credibility blowing in the wind."