DOJ Watchdog Report Reveals New Details About Jeffrey Epstein’s Death
The Department of Justice’s internal watchdog has released a report that provides a thorough account of the events that led to Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019. The report concluded that there was “no criminality” since no one had accessed the area where Epstein was held in the hours leading up to his discovery.
The Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) report about the financier and sex trafficker who died by hanging in the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center affirms the previous findings of the New York City medical examiner that Epstein died by suicide. The report details the moments before and after his death, which has led to speculation about foul play.
On Tuesday, a report was released that confirmed what staff members at the facility’s Special Housing Unit (SHU) had been saying all along: on August 9 at around 8 p.m., all inmates were locked in their cells for the night. The inspector general also stated that there was no evidence of anyone entering Epstein’s cell area from the SHU common area between roughly 10:40 p.m. on August 9 and 6:30 a.m. the following morning, according to video surveillance.
The OIG spoke to three prisoners who were staying on the same SHU tier as Epstein when he died. These inmates had cells across from Epstein’s cell, which means they could see it. According to one of the inmates, a headcount was conducted within the SHU just before noon on August 9, 2019. After that, they did not see or hear anyone enter Epstein’s cell until the following morning when a corrections officer found Epstein’s body. A commotion ensued after the discovery.
As per the OIG report, the corrections officer crouched down and shook his body while saying “Epstein, Epstein.” Afterwards, the officer attempted to lift Epstein from behind by wrapping his arms around him. This resulted in the officer falling next to Epstein. Following this, the officer performed chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Epstein.
“At this point, the officer said, ‘F***!’ and asked the female CO, who was standing near the L Tier gate, if she has pressed the button. The female officer said, ‘Yeah, a long time ago,’” the OIG report continued.
According to the report, a lieutenant and a male nurse attempted to revive Epstein in his cell, but were unsuccessful. The report also mentioned that there was only one working security camera in the SHU area of Epstein’s cell due to a malfunction of the MCC New York’s Digital Video Recorder system on July 29, 2019.
“While the prison’s cameras continued to provide live video feeds, recordings were made for only about half the cameras,” the report states.
According to the report, the working camera recorded video footage of the common area of the SHU and some parts of the stairs leading to different tiers, including Epstein’s cell tier. “Thus, anyone entering or attempting to enter Epstein’s SHU tier from the SHU common area would have been picked up by that video camera.”
“The OIG reviewed the video and found that, between approximately 10:40 p.m. on August 9 and about 6:30 a.m. on August 10, no one was seen entering Epstein’s cell tier from the SHU common area,” the report added.
According to the report, Epstein was put on suicide watch and psychological observation in the past. On August 10, several makeshift nooses made from the excess prison sheets were discovered in his cell, and on August 8, Epstein signed a new Last Will and Testament. The OIG provided several recommendations to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), some of which have been implemented, but it was not clear if the recommendation to ensure security camera systems could record video had been acted upon.
“The BOP concurred with this recommendation but did not provide any additional information,” the report states. “The OIG will consider whether to close this recommendation after the BOP (1) enhances existing policies regarding institutional camera systems to include the recommended language update; (2) communicates the policy update to all relevant BOP employees; and (3) provides documentation of the policy update and communication to the OIG.”