War­den, guards dis­ci­plined in Ep­stein death

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Jim Mustian, Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsamo

NEW YORK — The war­den at the fed­eral jail where Jef­frey Ep­stein took his own life over the week­end was re­moved Tues­day and two guards who were sup­posed to be watch­ing the fi­nancier were placed on leave while fed­eral au­thor­i­ties in­ves­ti­gate the death.

The move by the Jus­tice Depart­ment came amid mount­ing ev­i­dence that the chron­i­cally un­der­staffed Metropoli­tan Cor­rec­tional Cen­ter may have bun­gled its re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep Ep­stein, 66, from harm­ing him­self while he awaited trial on charges of sex­u­ally abus­ing teenage girls.

Ep­stein was taken off a sui­cide watch last month for rea­sons that have not been ex­plained, and was sup­posed to have been checked on by a guard ev­ery 30 min­utes. But in­ves­ti­ga­tors learned those checks weren’t done for sev­eral hours be­fore he was found Satur­day morn­ing, ac­cord­ing to a per­son fa­mil­iar with the case who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr or­dered War­den Lamine N’Di­aye tem­po­rar­ily as­signed to the Bureau of Prisons’ re­gional of­fice while the FBI and the Jus­tice Depart­ment’s in­spec­tor gen­eral in­ves­ti­gate. The two guards were not iden­ti­fied.

While the ex­act man­ner of Ep­stein’s death has not been of­fi­cially an­nounced, a sec­ond per­son fa­mil­iar with op­er­a­tions at the jail said the fi­nancier was dis­cov­ered in his cell with a bed sheet around his neck. That per­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity.

Un­der the jail’s pro­to­col, Ep­stein would not have been given a bed sheet had he been on sui­cide watch. He was placed on sui­cide watch last month af­ter he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck, but he was later re­turned to the jail’s spe­cial hous­ing unit for in­mates need­ing close su­per­vi­sion.

DON EMMERT/GETTY-AFP

Jef­frey Ep­stein, 66, re­port­edly used bed sheets to hang him­self Satur­day morn­ing at the fed­eral jail in New York.

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