For anyone familiar with Bureau of Prisons standard operating procedures, Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide is more than mysterious; it is unfathomable.
The 66-year-old accused sex trafficker was found dead in his prison cell at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) Saturday morning, apparently after having hanged himself.
The Bureau of Prisons, the federal agency that runs the MCC, has said the FBI will investigate.
It had better.
Epstein’s death almost certainly means that astounding blunders occurred, perhaps by multiple personnel at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
If any prisoner in the federal system should have been a candidate for suspicion of suicide, it was the high-profile and disgraced Epstein. All administrative and structural measures should have been in place to ensure it could not happen. And yet it apparently did.
First, consider the MCC itself. It is a high-rise, forbidding administrative detention facility in the south of Manhattan. Its population consists almost entirely of prisoners, like Epstein, awaiting trial in federal court in Manhattan. It has been referred to as the “Guantanamo of New York” for its stringent security measures. It is the facility of choice for notorious federal defendants, often in special administrative segregation units, having previously housed John Gotti, Bernard Madoff, Omar Abdel Rahman and, recently, Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
In other words, it is the very place to put a high-profile and potentially suicidal defendant such as Epstein. [Continue reading…]
Within hours of Epstein’s death, “Clintons” and “ClintonBodyCount” were among the highest-trending topics on Twitter. Among the biggest drivers of the latter hashtag were an Infowars host and two accounts associated with the QAnon conspiracy, according to Alex Kaplan, a Media Matters researcher who focuses on far-right media.
A trove of court documents unsealed Friday detail allegations by an alleged victim of wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein that while working as a teenage locker room attendant at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort nearly two decades ago she was recruited to give Epstein massages that often involved sexual activity.
The roughly 2,000 pages of records released by the Manhattan-based 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals also show the same woman, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, appears to have claimed she had sex with a series of prominent men — including former politicians — at Epstein’s direction while working as a staff masseuse for the investment adviser, who eventually came under investigation in 2006 for sex trafficking over his involvement with teenage girls. [Continue reading…]
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) August 10, 2019
I’m with @AOC on this #Epstein mess. You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see an evil coverup to protect lots of powerful men here. You’d have to be bizarrely naive not to. https://t.co/WDbek257US
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) August 10, 2019
Many people had a powerful motive to see Epstein dead. It’s perfectly reasonable to think the man might have been murdered. Indeed, a person employing basic Bayesian logic would weight the probability of foul play highly, even if they did not favor a specific theory of who was responsible or what actually happened.
Moreover, those journalists reporting that Jeffrey Epstein, in fact, did commit suicide are themselves ahead of the facts. Attorney General Barr noted in his statement only that Epstein was “found dead.” The New York City Medical Examiner said, a few hours after the story broke that the cause and manner of Epstein’s death were still “pending investigation.”
Now, there is reason to be confident the DOJ will play the investigation straight. Shortly after news of Epstein’s death broke, The Associated Press reported that the FBI had opened an investigation into Epstein’s death. AG Barr, in his statement, announced there would be a separate DOJ Inspector General investigation, and CNN’s Shimon Prokupecz reported that the Southern District of New York would be investigating as well. It would be hard for any actor or group of actors – no matter how powerful – to corrupt three different investigations run by three different, mostly autonomous departments.
But until those investigations are completed, speculation is perfectly reasonable.