The warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York where disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive has been temporarily reassigned pending the outcome of multiple investigations into Epstein’s death.
“Today, the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York to the Bureau’s Northeast Regional Office pending the outcome of the FBI and OIG investigations into the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a former MCC inmate,” Department of Justice spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
“FCI Otisville Warden James Petrucci has been named Acting Warden of the MCC New York. The Bureau of Prisons also placed on administrative leave two MCC staff assigned to Mr. Epstein’s unit pending the outcome of the investigations. Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant,” Kupec wrote, without identifying the staff members.
Attorney General William Barr confirmed on Aug. 12 that the FBI and the Office of Inspector General have launched investigations into the financier’s apparent suicide.
Speaking at an event in New Orleans, Barr reiterated that he was “appalled” by the news and vowed that a thorough probe into Epstein’s death will be conducted.
“We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability. But 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,” the attorney general warned during his remarks.
Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit at the MCC in New York City at on Aug. 10. The 66-year-old was recently denied bail while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. Authorities have accused the financier of sexually abusing and exploiting dozens of girls, some of them as young as 14.
Thousands of documents related to Epstein’s alleged wrongdoing were unsealed just a day before he was found unresponsive.
The 66-year-old was placed on suicide watch after he was found injured and semi-conscious in his prison cell with marks on his neck on July 24. But he was taken off that watch at the end of July and returned to the jail’s special housing unit.
There, Epstein was supposed to have been checked on by a guard about every 30 minutes. But investigators have learned those checks weren’t done for several hours before Epstein was found unresponsive, a person familiar with the incident told The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. On Aug. 12, Barr said that there were “serious irregularities” at the facility that are “deeply concerning.”
New York City’s medical examiner office said on Aug. 11 that they have completed an autopsy but a determination on the official cause of death is “pending further information at this time.”
On Aug. 13, President Donald Trump told reporters in New Jersey that he was demanding a “full investigation” into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
“Basically what we’re saying is we want an investigation. I want a full investigation. And that’s what I absolutely am demanding. That’s what our great attorney general is doing; he’s doing a full investigation,” Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.