Barr Reassigns Warden, Suspends Guards Following Epstein Death

Update: The warden of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) where Jeffrey Epstein died has been temporarily reassigned to the Bureau's Northeast Regional Office by Attorney General William Barr, according to a Tuesday statement by the Justice Department. Meanwhile, two prison employees who had been assigned to Epstein's unit have been placed on administrative leave pending ongoing investigations, according to CNBC

Department of Justice spokewoman Kerri Kupec, in a prepared statement said, “Today, the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York to the Bureau’s Northeast Regional Office pending the outcome of the FBI and OIG investigations into the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a former MCC inmate.”

FCI Otisville Warden James Petrucci has been named Acting Warden of the MCC New York. The Bureau of Prisons also placed on administrative leave two MCC staff assigned to Mr. Epstein’s unit pending the outcome of the investigations. Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant.” -CNBC

***

The morning of Jeffrey Epstein's death, "shouting and shrieking" could be heard from his jail cell, according to CBS News - while guards attempting to revive him were saying "breathe, Epstein, breathe.

Epstein, who was reportedly in 'good spirits' recently - meeting with his lawyers for up to 12 hours a day to discuss his case - was found hanging in his Lower Manhattan jail cell with a bedsheet around his neck, which was reportedly secured to the top of a bunk bed, according to the New York Post

On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said that the Epstein case "was personally important to him," and that the prison had "serious irregularities." 

Notably, the staff at MCC reportedly violated prison protocol by failing to check on the high-profile inmate every 30 minutes, according to the Washington Post. Epstein, whose defense attorneys successfully lobbied for him to be taken off suicide watch about a week before he was found dead, was also supposed to have had a cellmate. 

...he also should have had a cellmate, according to the person familiar with the matter and union officials representing facility employees.

But a person who had been assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday, and — for reasons that investigators are still exploring — he did not receive a new cellmate. -Washington Post

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, Hugh Hurwitz, demanding answers - and stating that Epstein's reported death by hanging "demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice," according to the Miami Herald.

On Monday, the FBI raided Little St. James - Epstein's so-called 'orgy island,' according to the Daily Mail, which captured footage of a dozen officers docking speedboats on the island before exploring the property on golf carts.  Some agents were spotted on top of Epstein's luxury home. All officials wore jackets with the letters 'FBI' in clear view.

Potential co-conspirators?

With Epstein dead, four women accused of recruiting underage girls for sex with the pedophile financier are coming into focus, including British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell - who has denied all claims. On Monday, AG Barr said that Epstein's alleged co-conspirators "should not rest easy" just because Epstein won't have his day in court. 

"Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein," said Barr in remarks to a New Orleans law enforcement group, "Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. Victims deserve justice and will get it."

Maxwell is said to be Epstein's ex-girlfriend turned business associate. Her current location is unknown.

"She was more of a partner in his obsession, really," said Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown, who spent more than two years looking into Epstein's controversial 2008 plea deal. "And there are allegations that she was involved in having sex with some of these girls as well." 
 
Court documents from 2011 reveal Epstein controlled several apartments in a building just blocks from his $77 million New York townhouse and allegedly housed "underage girls from all over the world." -CBS News

According to CBS News, Epstein's estranged brother Mark has identified the body. Meanwhile, the autopsy reports are still pending