At least one camera in the hallway outside the cell where authorities say registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide earlier this month had images that cannot be used, although other clearer images were captured in the area, according to three people informed about the evidence gathered previously. this month.
It was not immediately clear why some video images outside the Epstein cell are too defective for researchers to use or what is visible in the other usable images. The incident is being investigated by the FBI and the Department of Justice inspector general’s office, which are trying to determine what happened and how to assess whether policies were violated or if crimes were committed.
The footage is considered critical for these investigations, and the disclosure of an unusable recording is another apparent failure within the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the installation of the Prison Office with few staff in downtown Manhattan that housed Epstein.
It is not clear if the failure in the recording affected a limited duration of the footage or if it was a chronic problem in the besieged installation.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons declined to comment, as did the spokesmen for the FBI, the Department of Justice and the US attorney’s office in Manhattan.
People who talked about the images requested anonymity, citing the ongoing investigation.
Epstein, a well-connected financier, had been accused in early July of sexually abusing dozens of girls in the early 2000s and ordered their detention without bail. The arrest brought a long-awaited sense of justice to those who said that Epstein abused them and had previously been dismayed by a 2008 plea agreement that he received to resolve similar accusations that were widely criticized as too lenient.
Meanwhile, there has been intense scrutiny of the federal facility where he was held, which did not follow his protocol in handling Epstein in several ways, authorities said.
Epstein should have been checked every 30 minutes in the special accommodation unit of the jail, although it had been several hours since the last check when it was discovered that staff members delivered breakfast. Investigators are exploring whether the records were falsified to indicate that controls occurred when they did not, said a person familiar with the matter.
The two service officers when Epstein apparently committed suicide were working overtime, one forced and the other voluntarily, officials said. Normally, one did not work as a corrections officer, although he had done so in the past and was allowed to do so, authorities said.
Jeffrey Epstein was also supposed to have a roommate after an incident on July 23 in which he was found on the floor of his cell with marks on his neck. Authorities suspected he had attempted suicide; Epstein said he believed he had been attacked.
He was placed under suicide surveillance for about a week after that, which means he was monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He was placed back in the special housing unit of the prison at the end of the month and, for a while, had a new roommate.
But that person was transferred the day before Epstein’s death and a new roommate was not assigned, even though at least eight jail officials knew that Epstein should not be left alone in a cell.
New York chief medical examiner Barbara Sampson described Epstein’s cause of death as a suicide on August 16. The ruling came five days after the coroner’s office performed an autopsy and classified the cause of death as pending while seeking additional information.
The pathologist’s autopsy found that Epstein suffered fractures in the neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings. Among the fractures in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near Adam’s apple. Such interruptions can occur in those who hang themselves, according to forensic experts and studies on the subject. But they are typical of strangulation homicide victims, experts told The Washington Post.