Barr criticizes prison’s ‘serious irregularities’ after Epstein death
Attorney General William Barr said Monday that Justice Department officials will thoroughly investigate “serious irregularities” at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) where accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead of apparent suicide over the weekend.
Barr also warned that any of Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators “should not rest easy,” noting that federal prosecutors will continue to aggressively pursue the case to ensure anyone who worked alongside Epstein will be held accountable.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Barr said during remarks at a law enforcement conference in New Orleans. “The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are doing just that.”
Barr said he was “appalled” and “angry” by the developments; he insisted that the Justice Department would “get to the bottom” of what happened and promised accountability.
“Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein,” Barr said. “Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it.”
Barr, who was delivering the keynote speech at Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police’s 64th National Biennial Conference, used the outset of his remarks to address Epstein’s case.
Epstein was found dead early Saturday of apparent suicide in his jail cell in New York federal prison, where he was awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking charges.
Epstein had been placed on temporary suicide watch back in July after he was found in his jail cell with injuries that raised concerns he was at risk for suicide. The detention center has since drawn intense scrutiny, with some reports suggesting corrections officers didn’t follow protocol by regularly checking on Epstein and that the prison had been understaffed.
On Monday, Barr described the case as important to himself personally, to the Justice Department prosecutors and FBI investigators who worked to bring the charges against Epstein, and to the victims who wanted to confront Epstein in court.
“Most importantly, this case was important to the victims who had the courage to come forward and deserve the opportunity confront the accused in the courtroom,” Barr said.
“I was appalled and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” he continued.
The FBI said on Saturday that it would investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death, and Barr announced that a separate inquiry would be opened by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.
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