House

House Judiciary leaders demand answers from Bureau of Prisons on Epstein death

The leaders of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday sent 23 questions to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) about the death in federal custody of accused sex trafficker and disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

“The apparent suicide of this high-profile and — if allegations are proven to be accurate — particularly reprehensible individual while in the federal government’s custody demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice,” Judiciary Chairman Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' What this 'impeachment' is really about — and it's not the Constitution MORE (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse House to vote on bill to ensure citizenship for children of overseas service members GOP lawmaker: Schiff should be first witness Republicans call to testify in impeachment inquiry MORE (R-Ga.) wrote in a letter to acting BOP Director Hugh Hurwitz regarding Epstein's death Saturday at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).

“Any victims of Mr. Epstein’s actions will forever be denied proper recourse and the scintilla of recompense our justice system can provide in the face of such alleged atrocities; the competency and rigor of our criminal justice system has been marred by this apparent oversight,” the letter adds.

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Collins and Nadler ask the BOP for details on assessments conducted regarding Epstein’s possible risk of suicide, whether he was ever placed in single-cell confinement or restrictive housing and whether the facility has rooms specifically designated for inmates on suicide watch.

The letter also asks for clarifications on both BOP and MCC policies on housing inmates accused of sex offenses and whether it was followed in Epstein’s case, as well as information about the specific correctional officers tasked with monitoring Epstein on Friday and Saturday and how long they had been on their shifts at the point that Epstein’s body was discovered.

Nadler and Collins also requested clarification on reports that Epstein had been placed on, and later removed from, suicide watch and, if so, when.

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The letter comes the same day Attorney General Bill Barr said he was "appalled" that the MCC did not adequately secure the convicted sex offender, who faced multiple charges of sex trafficking.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and that demand a thorough investigation,” Barr told a Fraternal Order of Police conference Monday. “The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are already doing just that.  We will get to the bottom of what happened at the MCC and we will hold people accountable for this failure.”