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Epstein's Guards Were Allegedly Shopping, Sleeping

AG Barr describes 'perfect storm of screw-ups'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2019 10:06 AM CST
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This March 28, 2017 file photo shows Jeffrey Epstein.   (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File)
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(Newser) – Enough with the conspiracy theories, says Attorney General William Barr, asserting that a "series" of mistakes allowed Jeffrey Epstein to take his own life at a Manhattan jail in August. "I can understand people … whose minds went to sort of the worst-case scenario because it was a perfect storm of screw-ups," Barr tells the AP after two correctional officers were charged this week with falsifying prison records. The indictment "shows a damning glimpse of safety lapses inside a high-security unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center," per the AP. Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, working overtime amid a staff shortage, were supposed to check on Epstein every 30 minutes. They're accused of sleeping and online shopping from 10:30pm to 6:30am, when they found Epstein with a bedsheet around his neck in a cell just 15 feet from their desk, per the New York Times.

Barr says the evidence proves the financier killed himself while awaiting trial on charges of sexual abuse of minors. The suicide came a week after Epstein was removed from suicide watch following an incident in which he was found with bruises on his neck, and a day after his cellmate left the jail. "I think it was important to have a roommate in there with him," but "the systems to assure that was done were not followed," Barr says. He adds there's "good progress being made" in investigations related to the sex-trafficking case. Lawyers say more alleged victims are coming forward all the time. Per CBS News, a Thursday hearing to discuss a possible settlement grew heated as lawyers described weeks of silence from Epstein's estate. (Read more Jeffrey Epstein stories.)

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