Two correctional officers who had been guarding convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein the night he died have declined a plea deal offered them by federal prosecutors, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Although the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment, the AP said the news likely means the US Justice Department is considering filing charges against jail guards in connection with Epstein’s death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in August.
Epstein, 66, was found dead in his cell, and New York’s medical examiner ruled the death a suicide.
Guards on the unit where Epstein was being held were ordered to check on him every half hour, but officials have said that two of them fell asleep and didn’t check Epstein’s cell for three hours, then falsified logs to cover up their failure, the New York Times reported. Those two guards were placed on administrative leave, and the warden was temporarily reassigned, pending the investigation.
Sources spoke to the Associated Press about the plea deal anonymously because they’re barred from speaking publicly about the investigation. Those sources said federal prosecuturs wanted the correctional officers, both of whom were working overtime because the jail is chronically understaffed, to admit falsifying the logs.
Epstein was awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused teenage girls and had been placed on a suicide watch in July when he was found unconscious in his cell with bruising on his neck.
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[Featured image: New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File]