U.S. Justice Department officials have reportedly placed two guards on leave and reassigned the warden in the jail where Jeffrey Epstein is believed to have taken his own life this past weekend.
“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,” Department of Justice Spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement obtained by NBC News on Tuesday.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Epstein was placed in a special housing unit after he was taken off suicide watch on July 29, and the protocol reportedly required that a guard check on Epstein every 30 minutes. However, as the New York Times reported, no guard checked on Epstein for multiple hours before he was found unresponsive in his cell at about 6:30 Saturday morning.
The Department of Justice spokesperson said in the statement that two guards had been placed on administrative leave, adding that “additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant.”
According to NBC News, an administration source said that some federal employees have been “lawyering up” in response to an investigation into Epstein’s death, and appear to be reluctant to cooperate. The report did not provide additional details.
Epstein was found injured in his cell on July 23 after a possible suicide attempt, and was taken off suicide watch six days later. The circumstances of the decision to take the inmate off suicide watch is believed to be included in the federal probe into Epstein’s death.
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[Feature image: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews]