According to several news outlets, at least one federal prison worker, on duty the night before Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his prison cell, was offered a plea deal, in connection with the multimillionaire’s death.
CNN is reporting that according to two sources familiar with the case, plea deal negotiations between prosecutors and attorneys indicate forthcoming charges by the Department of Justice relating to Epstein’s death.
Epstein, 66, was in a lone cell in the special housing unit of the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York when he was found dead in August.
At the time, The New York Times reported that the two prison staff members who’d been guarding the unit where Epstein died by apparent suicide failed to check on him that night for about three hours.
Guards are supposed to check on detainees in the special housing unit every 30 minutes, a source with knowledge of Epstein’s time at the prison had previously told CNN.
The Washington Examiner is reporting that the negotiations for a plea deal with the guards broke down, and now one or both men on duty could be facing criminal charges by the Department of Justice (DOJ). Sources familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that the two guards responsible for monitoring Epstein had declined the deal from federal prosecutors.
The offer of a deal was a signal from the DOJ that it may wish to pursue criminal charges against the guards. As part of the deal, prosecutors wanted the guards to admit they had forged records, as it was believed they were not performing their proper routine checks as required, on Epstein.
The convicted sex offender was placed on suicide watch after he was found with bruises around his neck in his prison cell in July. Epstein then died on Aug. 10, and the New York medical examiner ruled his death as a suicide. The DOJ later admitted he had been allowed off suicide watch before he died.
The head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons is set to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. Sen. Ben Sasse, a member of the committee, sent a letter to the director this week, telling her he expects “substantial answers” on the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
“To pretend like this issue, which is by far the public’s top concern with your agency, won’t be a significant focus of attention at this hearing is naïve — to the point of being laughable,” the Nebraska Republican wrote.