Two correctional employees responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein reportedly rejected a plea deal which may indicate that the Department of Justice is considering criminal charges.
The two guards on duty the night that convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide turned down the federal prosecutors’ offer for a plea deal which would have them admit to falsifying records, sources familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
On duty at the understaffed Metropolitan Correctional Center where the 66-year-old financier was found dead of an apparent suicide, the two prison staff members were suspected of fabricating log entries to show they had checked on Epstein every 30 minutes as they were required.
The very existence of a plea offer seems to indicate that criminal charges are being considered by the Justice Department against the guards, who have both been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general, the AP reported.
Epstein was being held in the New York prison while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges and had been taken off suicide watch about a week before his death in August, following a failed attempt to take his own life in July. Although he was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes, prison staff allegedly did not check on the multimillionaire the night he died for about three hours.
Reports indicated that one of the staff assigned to monitor Epstein, though trained as a corrections officer, had been serving in another position and was temporarily assigned to guard him in the lone cell in the special housing unit of the New York facility.
An internal memo to top prison officials earlier this month from the director of the Bureau of Prisons revealed that a “review of operations across the agency found some staff members failed to perform required rounds and inmate counts but logged that they had done so anyway,” the AP reported.
“Falsification of information in government systems and documents is also a violation of policy, and may be subject to criminal prosecution as well,” Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who was named director of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons after her predecessor Hugh Hurwitz was removed by Barr following Epstein’s death, wrote in the memo.
Any prison employee facing a grand jury indictment will be subject to an indefinite, unpaid suspension, the memo also noted.
According to The Associated Press:
Epstein’s ability to take his own life while incarcerated at one of the most secure jails in America ended the possibility of a trial that would have involved prominent figures. And it sparked widespread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the allegations. He had pleaded not guilty and was preparing to argue that he could not be charged because of a 2008 deal he made to avoid federal prosecution on similar allegations.
The Justice Department has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein. Federal prosecutors investigating the financier’s death subpoenaed up to 20 staff members at the jail in August.
The latest report on the plea offer comes amid a torrent of speculation and skepticism that Epstein may not have committed suicide but been murdered to cover up the involvement of prominent people in his sexual crimes with underage girls.
An undercover video earlier this month showed ABC News anchor Amy Robach admitting she believed Epstein was murdered. And this week, Epstein’s brother Mark Epstein told The Miami Herald that he is sure his brother was murdered.
“I could see if he got a life sentence, I could then see him taking himself out, but he had a bail hearing coming up,” he said, challenging the Department of Justice and New York City’s chief medical examiner. “Jeffrey knew a lot of stuff about a lot of people.”
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