The Trump Justice Department is among the many interests taking on the recent apparent suicide death of imprisoned child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein while he was in custody in New York on federal criminal charges. This Tuesday, the Justice Department announced that as their investigation into the situation continues, the warden who’d been on duty at the jail where Epstein died has been temporarily reassigned and two lower level jail staff members who’d been covering Epstein’s unit have been placed on administrative leave. Although there’s still not an overabundance of detail, just the day before Attorney General William Barr had denounced “serious irregularities” at Epstein’s jail.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec noted that additional actions are still on the table if the investigation finds them warranted.
In the same speech in which he insisted that any still free and living participants in Epstein’s criminal activity would be brought to justice, Barr had shared the day before:
‘I was appalled — indeed, the entire department was — and, frankly, angry to learn of the [Metropolitan Correctional Center’s] failure to adequately secure this prisoner. We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation… We will hold people accountable for this failure.’
They’re certainly not waiting around for things before taking those accountability steps, considering those remarks came just the day before.
Epstein had been on suicide watch at one point during his stay in federal prison, but that was lifted not even a week after a previous apparent attempt. According to at least one report, Epstein’s legal team urged that he be taken off the suicide watch, and during the night and early morning in which he died, Epstein was according to some more reports not even being monitored as much as protocol demanded without the suicide watch in place. The New York Times says Epstein had gone without a check for “several hours” before being discovered dead. Some have asserted that both the guards on Epstein’s unit were on overtime because the facility itself was short-staffed — and that one of them wasn’t even an actual corrections officer.
As the investigation exemplified by these staff reassignments and suspensions gets underway, President Donald Trump has been meddling in the probe already, a move that is at this point well established as in character.
He shared conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death on Twitter over the weekend, at one point sharing a message asserting the Clintons had him killed to cover up evidence of their supposed involvement in his criminal activity. There is no evidence whatsoever of any sort of connection to Epstein along any of these lines on the Clintons’ part.
Some current and former FBI agents speaking to Business Insider said that Trump was essentially meddling with the investigation via his smoke and mirrors campaign and could even spark violence that diverts resources away from it. There’s a documented pattern of right wing extremists using conspiracy theories like the one Trump touted as excuses for violence against the targets of the theories, meaning in this case the Clintons and their allies. The Trump team itself has offered no apology, retraction, or anything of the sort.
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