Epstein was OFF suicide watch at time of death, AP reports. AG Barr responds.

Contrary to initial reports, Jeffrey Epstein was apparently not under a suicide watch in his cell in a Manhattan federal prison where he was found dead on Saturday.

The disgraced billionaire financier was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead after he reportedly hanged himself in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center while awaiting trial for federal sex trafficking charges.

While reports Saturday indicated that the 66-year-old convicted sex offender was under 24-hour supervision due to an earlier, failed suicide attempt last month, people familiar with the investigation told NBC News that he was not under a watch at the time he took his life.

A prison official cited by The New York Times indicated that there was extra security in the unit that Epstein was being held in in the prison but he was not under any kind of suicide watch.

The Associated Press also reported that Epstein had been taken off the suicide watch.

According to AP:

A person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press that Epstein had been taken off suicide watch. The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity. It wasn’t immediately clear when he was taken off suicide watch.

The Bureau of Prisons confirmed that he had been housed in the jail’s Special Housing Unit, a heavily secured part of the facility that separates high-profile inmates from the general population.

 

The shocking reports of Epstein’s death Saturday morning came just a day after unsealed court documents were released, implicating several prominent political names – including Bill Clinton – and making public testimony from one of his accusers. His death raised suspicions and sent social media hashtags trending as many questioned how prison personnel failed to prevent his death.

Epstein’s death is “an unfortunate and shocking failure, if proven to be a suicide,” former warden Cameron Lindsay told the Associated Press. “Unequivocally, he should have been on active suicide watch and therefore under direct and constant supervision.”

Attorney General William Barr reacted in a statement saying the apparent suicide “raises serious questions.”

“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,” Barr said.

“In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death,” he said.

Meanwhile, MSNBC host Joy Reid seemed to be blaming Barr’s Justice Department.

And “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough launched an even more eyebrow raising theory.

“A guy who had information that would have destroyed rich and powerful men’s lives ends up dead in his jail cell. How predictably…Russian,” Scarborough tweeted.

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