Epstein’s guards were working ‘extreme’ OT at short-staffed lockupAugust 12, 2019
The two Manhattan jail guards who allegedly failed to monitor Jeffrey Epstein before he died had been working “extreme” overtime shifts amid a severe staffing shortage at the facility, reports said Sunday.
The unidentified jailers at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center violated procedure by failing to check on Epstein every 30 minutes before he apparently committed suicide in his cell, sources told Reuters.
One guard was working his fifth straight day of overtime and the other was toiling under mandatory overtime, a person familiar with operations at the lower-Manhattan lockup told The Associated Press.
The guards also violated procedure by leaving the convicted pedophile without a cellmate, the New York Times reported.
There’s no surveillance video of Epstein’s death, which apparently occurred when the 66-year-old pervert appeared to hang himself Saturday morning, law-enforcement officials told The Post.
Although there are cameras in the 9 South wing at the MCC, where Epstein was being held without bail on child-sex-trafficking charges, they are trained on the areas outside the cells and not inside, according to officials familiar with the setup.
An autopsy was performed on Sunday, but a determination on the cause and manner of Epstein’s death “is pending further information at this time,” city Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson said in a statement.
Dr. Michael Baden, a former city chief medical examiner and host of the HBO series “Autopsy,” observed the postmortem examination at “the request of those representing the decedent, and with the awareness of the federal prosecutor,” Sampson said.
“This is routine practice,” Sampson added.
Epstein’s autopsy was conducted in an isolated, rarely used room in the Manhattan branch of the Medical Examiner’s Office and was also overseen by the FBI, according to a source with knowledge of the procedure.
Both the FBI and the federal Justice Department are investigating Epstein’s death.
Elected officials attending Sunday’s annual Dominican Day Parade in Manhattan demanded answers.
“Something doesn’t smell right, and it’s not [Epstein’s] dead body,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said.
Adams noted a July 23 incident in which Epstein was found nearly unconscious in his cell with marks on his neck, as well as blockbuster court papers released on Friday that contained the names of powerful men — including former Sen. George Mitchell of Maine and ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson — accused of sleeping with an Epstein teenage “sex slave.”
“Something is really troubling about that, and I think it needs to be investigated extremely and very thoroughly to make sure there wasn’t any foul play,” Adams said.
State Attorney General Letitia James said she had toured the MCC and found it “very difficult to understand how something like this could have happened.”
“My understanding is that he should have been on suicide watch and the people on suicide watch are placed in a type of jumpsuit that wouldn’t allow them to hurt themselves or others,” she said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who attended the Iowa State Fair as part of his campaign for the presidency, told The Post that Epstein had “a huge amount of information, potentially, about some of the richest and most powerful people in the country, and it was clear that he had either been attacked or tried to commit suicide previously.”
“And then, you know, suddenly they’re not putting him on suicide watch? I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t understand how those facts fit together,” he said.
Epstein had formerly shared a cell in the MCC with a hulking ex-Westchester cop, Nicholas Tartaglione, who was questioned over the July 23 incident and denied any wrongdoing.
Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, said he was “sorry to learn of Mr. Epstein’s suicide” and expressed hope for a “thorough investigation into how this occurred despite the Bureau of Prisons being on notice that Mr. Epstein had already attempted suicide at least once.”
“That investigation should be broad enough to examine the deplorable conditions inmates are forced to endure at the MCC,” Barket added.
Additional reporting by Israel Salas-Rodriguez, Daniel Cassady and Nikki Schwab
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