New York: US Attorney General Bill Barr said yesterday there were “serious irregularities” at the jail where Jeffrey Epstein died of an apparent suicide, and pledged to pursue any co-conspirators in the sex trafficking case.
“I was appalled and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the Metropolitan Correctional Centre’s failure to adequately secure this prison,” Barr said.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation.
“The FBI and office of the inspector general are doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,” he added.
Barr’s comments came after media reports said Epstein, 66, had been taken off suicide watch following an apparent attempt to take his own life last month. US newspapers also reported that prison guards were working overtime due to major staff shortages at the facility and that Epstein had been left without a cellmate, which was against protocol.
Epstein, a convicted paedophile who hobnobbed with countless politicians and celebrities over the years, was found dead in his cell on Saturday while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked underage girls for sex.
The discovery came a day after a court released documents in which one of Epstein’s alleged victims said she was forced to have sex with well-known American political and business personalities.
Even though Epstein’s death ended his criminal prosecution, Barr said prosecutors would pursue cases against anyone else involved in his alleged crimes.
“Let me assure you 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,” he said.
Epstein had been charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.
Meanwhile, a battle to claim Epstein’s assets is on, with opulent homes, a Caribbean island and a private jet to his name.
Even as questions swirl around the former asset manager’s death, attention will shift this week to the next drama: Identifying what’s in his estate, who can claim his assets and which jurisdiction takes up the case. Lawyers seeking compensation for victims of his alleged sex crimes are calling for a freeze on the estate, raising the prospect of a legal process that could drag out for years.
It’s unclear whether Epstein, who wasn’t married and has no known children, left a will. What is known is that his wealth included a $77 million, 40-room mansion on New York’s Upper East Side, the island of Little St James in the US Virgin Islands, a ranch in New Mexico and homes in Paris and Palm Beach, Florida. His business was registered in the Virgin Islands. His known relatives include his brother, Mark, and a niece and nephew, who live in New York.