Shortly after Jeffrey Epstein's death, reports indicated the two guards assigned to the special housing unit at Metropolitan Correctional Center did not check on inmates every 30 minutes Saturday morning, a violation of jail protocol.
Now we know why. On Tuesday, the New York Times revealed the guards fell sleep for more than three hours while on night watch.
But it gets worse. Not only did the guards fail to properly ensure the safety of inmates, but they later falsified records to hide their mistake — a potential federal crime.
The Times reported:
The two staff members in the special housing unit where Mr. Epstein was held — 9 South — falsely recorded in a log that they had checked on the financier, who was facing sex trafficking charges, every 30 minutes, as was required, two of the officials said. Such false entries in an official log could constitute a federal crime.
In fact, the two people guarding Mr. Epstein had been asleep for some or all of the three hours, three of the officials said.
The Times revealed the latest detail in the Epstein saga after the Justice Department announced the two correctional officers were placed on administrative leave and the jail's warden was temporarily reassigned to the Bureau of Prisons office in Philadelphia.
"Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant," Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said.
Attorney General William Barr, who admitted Epstein's death enraged him, quickly initiated an investigation by the Justice Department inspector general. The FBI is also investigating Epstein's death.
Adding to MCC's list of blunders is the fact that Epstein was alone in his cell immediately before his death. It's not clear who Epstein's cellmate was, why the cellmate was removed from the cell, or why the cellmate did not return. But because of Epstein's previous suicide attempt, jail policy mandated he have a cellmate, who could both provide basic companionship and alert jail officials of further self-harm attempts.
In addition to investigations by the FBI and DOJ inspector general, the Times reported a team of psychologists are also investigating why Epstein was taken off suicide watch just six days after his attempted suicide while an "after-action team" will begin investigating Wednesday whether jail officials followed proper procedures in the days and weeks leading up to Epstein's death.
Meanwhile, The Associated Press reported the team of psychologists will attempt to reconstruct the circumstances around Epstein's death to determine exactly what happened and why Epstein killed himself.