Sunday, December 8 2019

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US says 'serious irregularities' at Epstein jail, vows to hunt any co-conspirators

Update: August, 13/2019 - 09:55

NEW YORK — US Attorney General Bill Barr pledged Monday to pursue any co-conspirators of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, saying there were "serious irregularities" at the jail where the disgraced financier died of an apparent suicide.

Barr's comments came as FBI agents reportedly raided Epstein's private Caribbean island, two days after the convicted pedophile was found dead in his cell while awaiting trial on federal charges he trafficked underage girls for sex.

Barr, who heads the government's Justice Department and oversees federal prisons, said he was "appalled" and "frankly angry" to learn of the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center's failure to adequately secure the jail.

"We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation.

"The FBI and office of the inspector general are doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability," said Barr.FBI agents searched Epstein's luxury home on Little St. James in the US Virgin Islands on Monday morning, using golf carts to get around, NBC News reported.

The FBI is investigating how Epstein, 66, was able to take his own life in a high-security facility just weeks after he was found unconscious with marks on his neck following an earlier reported suicide attempt.

Media reports said Epstein, who hobnobbed with numerous politicians and celebrities over the years, had been taken off suicide watch.

US newspapers also reported that prison guards were working overtime due to major staff shortages at the jail and that Epstein had been left without a cellmate, which was against protocol.

A prison guards union said Monday that thousands of vacancies had created "dangerous conditions" at federal jails across the US.

Epstein's death came a day after a court released documents in which one of his alleged victims said she was forced to have sex with well-known American political and business personalities.

Even though Epstein's death ended his criminal prosecution, Barr said prosecutors would pursue cases against anyone else involved in his alleged crimes. 

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

Epstein had been charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors. — AFP

 

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