Guards on Jeffrey Epstein’s unit were working “extreme overtime shifts” to make up for staffing shortages the morning of his apparent suicide, the Associated Press reports. The Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit was staffed with one guard working a fifth straight day of overtime and another who was working mandatory overtime, said a source. The abrupt death of Epstein, 66, cuts short a criminal prosecution that could have pulled back the curtain on the inner workings of a high-flying financier with connections to celebrities and presidents. Prosecutors have vowed to continue investigating.
The jail staff failed to follow protocols leading up to Epstein’s death, reports the New York Times, deepening the fallout from what led to his apparent suicide. Epstein should have been checked on by guards every 30 minutes, but that didn’t happen the night before his apparent suicide, a law enforcement official told the Times. He was alone in his cell early Saturday after his cellmate was transferred. New York City’s chief medical examiner said an autopsy has been performed on Epstein, but that more information is needed before a cause of death determination is made. Epstein had been placed on suicide watch after he was found a little over two weeks ago with bruising on his neck. He was taken off the watch at the end of July and therefore wasn’t on it at the time of his death. Attorney General William Barr, calling for an investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, said he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” Barr said. Epstein had been denied bail while awaiting trial on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges.