Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Elie Honig believes that Jeffrey Epstein’s death “does pretty clearly look like a suicide,” but the circumstances surrounding the accused sex trafficker and billionaire financier’s passing also highlight the “inexplicable negligence” of staffers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where he was being held.
“There needs to be some serious accountability,” Honig said in an interview with the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery.” “How could this have happened? How could they have lost Jeffrey Epstein? How could they have lost the top-priority, highest-profile, most sensitive single inmate that they had at that time? There are a lot of questions that need to be answered.”
Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell on the morning of Aug. 10. New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled his death a suicide. The New York Times reported that guards fell asleep and failed to check on him for about three hours.
Honig said there should have been an “extra red flag” in Epstein’s case, especially since he had tried to kill himself only three weeks earlier.
“How do they not keep an eye on that guy?” he wondered. “It’s not like this came out of nowhere.”
Hours after Epstein’s death, Attorney General William Barr announced that the Department of Justice, which oversees the Bureau of Prisons, would launch a thorough investigation. On Thursday, CNN reported that federal investigators had issued as many as 20 grand jury subpoenas to MCC corrections officers.
“It’s clear DOJ is digging in — digging in hard now,” Honig said.
Barr said Wednesday that while the investigation has already uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail, he has “seen nothing that undercuts the finding of the medical examiner that this was a suicide.”
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