Jeffrey Epstein’s New York City cellmate was transferred out of their cell on the eve of Epstein’s death,, according to a report.
“A person who had been assigned to share a cell with Epstein was transferred on Friday, and—for reasons that investigators are still exploring—he did not receive a new cellmate, the person familiar with the matter said Sunday night. That left Epstein, who had previously been placed on suicide watch, alone and unmonitored—at least in the hours before his death—by even those officers assigned to guard him,” The Washington Post reported.
An autopsy has been completed on Epstein under the supervision of a federal prosecutor, but further investigation is needed to determine the final cause of death.
Guards on Epstein’s unit were working extreme overtime shifts to make up for staffing shortages the morning of his apparent suicide, a person familiar with the jail’s operations told The Associated Press.
The person said that 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.
Epstein’s death in federal custody “raises serious questions that must be answered” said Attorney General William Barr, who called for an investigation by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office.
Epstein was reported dead by hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Saturday. The billionaire financier, arrested on July 6, awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges by federal prosecutors.
On Friday, more than 2,000 pages of documents were released that related to a since-settled lawsuit against Epstein’s ex-girlfriend by Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s accusers.
Sigrid McCawley, Giuffre’s attorney, said Epstein’s suicide less than 24 hours after the documents were unsealed “is no coincidence.” McCawley urged authorities to continue their investigation, focusing on Epstein associates who she said “participated and facilitated Epstein’s horrifying sex trafficking scheme.”
Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit. He socialized with princes and presidents, and lived on a 100-acre private Caribbean island and one of the biggest mansions in New York.
Includes reporting from the Associated Press