Sasse tells AG that 'heads must roll' over Epstein treatment in federal custody

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) on Saturday wrote a letter to Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrMulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe Mulvaney ties withheld Ukraine aid to political probe sought by Trump Matthew Shepard's parents blast Barr's LGBTQ record in anniversary of hate crime law MORE that "heads must roll" regarding Jeffrey Epstein's apparent suicide after his body was found and it was reported that he had been take off suicide watch

"The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal,” Sasse, who chairs the the Senate Judiciary oversight subcommittee, wrote in the letter

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“Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him," he added.

"Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance. Obviously, heads must roll,” he wrote.

Sasse asked Barr whether Epstein had in fact been removed from suicide watch as The New York Times and NBC News reported and whether there would be investigations into the Bureau of Prison’s "mismanagement of the incarceration of Epstein."

"The Department of Justice should not have allowed this to happen," he wrote. "His death not only deprives his victims of the opportunity to confront him in court and to see him held accountable for his crimes, but also makes it harder to unravel his ring and to hold accountable the many other powerful men who raped and exploited these children."

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment on Sasse's letter. 

Barr released a statement on the death in which he said “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered."

The attorney general added in the statement that there would be an investigation into the circumstances of the death. 

Epstein, a registered sex offender, was reportedly previously on suicide watch after he was found unconscious last month in his jail cell with injuries to his neck. Earlier last month, he was arrested and at the time of his death had been awaiting trial for allegations of sex trafficking of a minor.