Barr: Epstein Died After ‘Perfect Storm of Screw-ups’

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Attorney General William Barr said he initially had his own suspicions about financier Jeffrey Epstein’s death behind bars at one of the nation’s most secure jails but came to conclude that his suicide was the result of “a perfect storm of screw-ups.” In an interview with The Associated Press, Barr said his concerns were prompted by the numerous irregularities at the New York jail where Epstein was being held. He said that after the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general continued to investigate, he realized there were a “series” of mistakes made that gave Epstein the chance to take his own life. “I can understand people who immediately, whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups,” Barr said.

Barr’s comments come days after two correctional officers who were responsible for guarding the wealthy financier when he died were charged with falsifying prison records. Officers Tova Noel and Michael Thomas are accused of sleeping and browsing the internet — shopping for furniture and motorcycles — instead of watching Epstein, who was supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. Epstein took his own life in August amid charges he sexually abused girls as young as 14 in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. His suicide cast a spotlight on the federal Bureau of Prisons, which has been plagued by chronic staffing shortages and outbreaks of violence. The indictment unsealed this week against the officers shows a damning glimpse of safety lapses inside a high-security unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The indictment provided details that reinforce the idea that, for all the intrigue regarding Epstein and his connections to powerful people, his death was a suicide and possibly preventable. A lawyer for Thomas, Montell Figgins, said both guards are being “scapegoated.”

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