AP Source: Epstein jail guards suspected of falsifying logs – Video shows guards never made some checks noted in log

An employee checks a visitor outside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 in New York. The warden at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life over the weekend was removed Tuesday and 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 Metropolitan Correctional Center may have bungled its responsibility to keep the 66-year-old Epstein from harming himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

By JIM MUSTIAN, MICHAEL R. SISAK and MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press  NEW YORK (AP) 08/14 — Jail guards on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to a person familiar with the investigation into the financier’s death.

Surveillance video shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, said the person, who was not authorized to disclose information about the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

FILE- In this July 30, 2008 file photo, Jeffrey Epstein appears in court in West Palm Beach, Fla. Epstein has died by suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, says person briefed on the matter, Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Palm Beach Post, Uma Sanghvi, File)

 

Epstein, 66, 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 cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the federal lockup said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck.

His death prompted the Justice Department to place two guards on leave and remove the jail’s warden pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general. Falsifying log entries can be a federal crime.

United States Attorney General William Barr, waves to the crowd, after addressing the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police’s 64th National Biennial Conference at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Convention Blvd. in New Orleans, La. Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Barr said Monday that there were “serious irregularities” at the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein took his own life this weekend as he awaited trial on charges he sexually abused underage girls. (David Grunfeld/The Advocate via AP)

 

The case has thrown a spotlight on chronic understaffing at the jail, which has long been used to house some of the world’s most notorious criminals, including mobsters, drug lords and terrorists.

A person familiar with the jail’s operations told the AP that a guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime the day he was found. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization to publicly discuss jail operations.

Last month, Epstein had been put on suicide watch, with 24-hour monitoring and daily psychiatric evaluations, after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck. But he was taken off suicide watch at the end of July and returned to the jail’s special housing unit, for inmates requiring close supervision.

___

Balsamo reported from Washington.

https://www.apnews.com/2051ef67dd5d4ead8c76a816dc35afd2

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted in: Deaths, Dept. of Justice, Informants, Jail, Misconduct/Abuse of Authority, Negligence, Policies & Practices, Surveillance, Video

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