Attorney General Barr admits there were "serious irregularities" at jail where Jeffrey Epstein died

“Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” Barr vowed. “Victims deserve justice and will get it”

By Matthew Rozsa

Published August 12, 2019 4:10PM (EDT)

 (AP/John Bazemore)
(AP/John Bazemore)

Attorney General William Barr denounced the conditions at New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center, where "serious irregularities" may have contributed to the apparent suicide of the billionaire financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

"I was appalled and frankly angry to learn of the [Metropolitan Correctional Center's] failure to adequately secure this prisoner," Barr told a law enforcement group Monday in New Orleans. "We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation."

"This sex trafficking case was very important to DOJ and me personally,” he added. “FBI and office of DOJ IG will get to the bottom of what happened, and there will be accountability."

Barr also attempted to reassure the Epstein's alleged victims that the case would not close as a result of his death.

"Let me assure you that case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” he said. “Victims deserve justice and will get it.”

Although the initial assessment regarding the cause of Epstein's death was suicide, the autopsy report was inconclusive. A number of explanations have been offered regarding his death, including corruption and insufficient staffing. As an official with the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Council of Prison Local 33 told NBC News, the facility lost 38 corrections officers and staffers often have to work double or triple shifts. On some occasions, secretaries and case managers have to do the work of corrections officers.

"I have not seen anything like this. It is ludicrous,” the official told NBC News. “They are running these prisons with practically no staffing.”

At least one person wise familiar with the  jail where Epstein was held also speculated that corruption could have made Epstein's apparent suicide possible.

"If he killed himself, someone had to have helped him," Lewis Kasman, a former confidant of mafia boss John Gotti Sr., told the New York Post.

"There are cameras going 24/7, and they’re watching 24/7. Someone had to give [Epstein] the equipment to kill himself, and he had to pay for it dearly. That facility for years had issues of corruption, with correction officers bringing in food or cellphones for wealthy people."

Kasman also pointed out that Gotti was able to smuggle in contraband despite the supposedly strict security at the prison.

"He had Peter Luger’s whenever he wanted," Kasman observed.

President Donald Trump has attempted to reap political capital from Epstein's death, using retweets from his Twitter account to suggest that former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may have been behind his death.

First the president retweeted a tweet from an account called "Breaking News Live" claiming that “documents were unsealed yesterday revealing that top Democrats, including Bill Clinton, took private trips to Jeffrey Epstein’s 'pedophilia island.'"

He then retweeted a comedian who wrote, "Died of SUICIDE on 24/7 SUICIDE WATCH ? Yeah right! How does that happen #JefferyEpstein had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead I see #TrumpBodyCount trending but we know who did this! RT if you’re not Surprised #EpsteinSuicide #ClintonBodyCount #ClintonCrimeFamily."

Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

MORE FROM Matthew Rozsa