- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Attorney General William P. Barr on Tuesday reassigned the warden of the federal jail where sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was found dead over the weekend.

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons also placed two staffers assigned to Epstein’s cell unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) on administrative leave, pending the outcome of investigations into the accused sex trafficker’s death.

The moves were the latest fallout from Epstein’s death by hanging.

A U.S. senator demanded Tuesday that the Justice Department repudiate a non-prosecution agreement it struck with Epstein a decade ago. And President Trump weighed in, saying he wanted a “full investigation” into Epstein’s death — and tying former President Bill Clinton to the disgraced financier.

The Justice Department warned more shakeups could come at the MCC, after Mr. Barr said they’ve already spotted “serious irregularities” in the handling of Epstein. Media outlets reported Epstein, despite having previously been on suicide watch, wasn’t checked regularly.

The Justice Department said Shirley Skipper-Scott, the warden at the MCC, has been transferred to the Bureau of Prisons’ Northeast Regional Office. Replacing Ms. Skipper-Scott as warden of the MCC is James Petrucci, who had helmed the federal prison in Otisville, New York.

Mr. Trump on Tuesday said he supported the calls for a thorough review of Epstein’s death.

“I want a full investigation and that’s what I absolutely am demanding,” the president told reporters. “That is what our great, great attorney general is doing.”

The president also said he has “no idea” whether Mr. Clinton or his wife Hillary were involved in the death of Epstein, after he was criticized for sharing on Twitter an unfounded conspiracy theory that the Clintons were responsible for the wealthy financier’s demise.

The president did, though, encourage reporters to dig into Mr. Clinton and Epstein’s estate on Little St. James Island in the Caribbean, which was widely labeled “Pedophile Island” by locals at the time.

“That was not a good place as I understand it, and I was never there,” Mr. Trump said. “You have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island? That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re going to know a lot.”

A Clinton spokesman has denied the former president ever visited the island. But Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s alleged victims, has testified in a civil lawsuit that Epstein once hosted a dinner for Mr. Clinton on the island.

FBI agents raided Little St. James on Monday in their investigation of Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking ring. Mr. Barr has said Epstein’s death will not stop the probe, which he said could snare co-conspirators.

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska Republican and a longtime critic of Epstein, demanded Tuesday that Mr. Barr publicly repudiate a non-prosecution deal the Justice Department struck a decade ago with Epstein, which protected some of those co-conspirators from legal punishment.

“Too many of Epstein’s secrets have gone to the grave with him, and the department must not allow his death to be one last sweetheart deal for his co-conspirators,” the Nebraska Republican wrote in a letter to Mr. Barr.

Epstein in 2008 faced a 53-page draft indictment drawn up by federal prosecutors, but the U.S. attorney’s office instead reached a deal in which Epstein pleaded guilty to charges in Florida, Mr. Sasse said, and the feds agreed not to prosecute him. That deal also covered four named co-conspirators and “any potential co-conspirators.”

The federal prosecutors in New York who brought the new charges this year have said they aren’t bound by the Florida deal, but Mr. Sasse said Mr. Barr should make clear that’s department policy.

Also on Tuesday, the New York Fire Department said it had investigated the allegation that one of its paramedics leaked news of Epstein’s death on the anonymous message board 4Chan about before it was reported by news outlets.

“Dont ask me how I know, but Epstein died an hour ago from hanging, cardiac arrest,” the poster wrote on Saturday roughly 38 minutes before the first public reports of Epstein’s demise.

The same user posted on 4chan a total of six times about Epstein’s death, including information consistent with official details released publicly later by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, according to a report by BuzzFeed News.

The fire department said it had determined the post did not come from its ranks.

⦁ Stephen Dinan and Andrew Blake contributed to this report.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide