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Jeffrey Epstein Hadn't Been Checked for Hours

And he had no cellmate, as he was supposed to: source
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2019 11:47 AM CDT
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This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein.   (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)

(Newser) – Corrections officers should have been checking on Jeffrey Epstein every half-hour. Instead, he hadn't been checked on in "several" hours when he was found hanged in his cell Saturday, a source tells the Washington Post. That's just one of multiple mistakes that have come to light in the wake of Epstein's death; the Post source also confirms Epstein was supposed to have a cellmate, but his last one had been transferred Friday. It's not yet clear why another one was not assigned to Epstein's cell in a special housing unit of New York City's Metropolitan Correctional Center. A national union official says there had been speculation Epstein was scared of his previous cellmate, whom Fox News describes as a "muscle-bound ex-cop" jailed on murder charges, and that he was trying to get away from him.

Epstein, 66, had previously been on suicide watch as he awaited trial on sex trafficking charges, but had recently been removed from it; the New York Post reports that was done at his lawyer's request. A local union official says the prison is currently working with less than 70% of the correctional officers it needs, which means many of them work mandatory overtime; one of the two officers assigned to watch Epstein's housing unit was on mandatory overtime, and the other was on his fourth or fifth consecutive day of overtime. She also says one of the two was not normally in the role of corrections officer, but was able to perform the role. Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr said Monday that an investigation found "serious irregularities" at the prison that will be investigated, the Wall Street Journal reports. (Epstein's autopsy is complete, but there are still few answers.)

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