New York — Corrections officers may have falsified reports saying they checked on Jeffrey Epstein as required by protocol, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation into Epstein’s apparent suicide. CBS News has learned that surveillance video apparently showed guards never made some of the checks noted in the prison log.
Multiple sources told CBS News that Epstein’s cellmate at the Metropolitan Correctional Center posted bail last Friday, leaving Epstein alone in his cell the day before he died. Another source familiar with the investigation said it appears Epstein had been dead one to two hours before he was found.
Epstein, who was being held on sex-trafficking charges, was taken off suicide watch about one week after an apparent attempt to hang himself on July 23.
At least one temporary employee at the detention center was on watch Friday night into Saturday morning, multiple sources said. The replacement employee was not part of the regular detail assigned to Epstein’s special housing unit.
A representative for staffers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center said work conditions at the facility have been inadequate for nearly two years. Corrections officers have long complained about being overworked with 60-plus hour work weeks and mandatory overtime.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that the warden of the federal jail will be reassigned and two prison staffers were placed on administrative leave.
The FBI has begun reaching out to begin the process of interviewing officers and staff at the Manhattan detention center as part of its investigation into Epstein’s death, a source familiar with the matter said. There are at least two or three prison guards who have gotten defense attorneys, the source said.
The FBI also wants to review video from cameras in the special housing unit where Epstein was held, the source said. It is unclear whether the cameras record individual cells or areas outside the cells. It is also unknown whether the cameras were even working at the time. Investigators also want to look at prison documents, including overtime records.
One day after the FBI raided Epstein’s 70 acre private estate in the Virgin Islands, President Trump said Tuesday he wants a full investigation, which he said included questions about former President Bill Clinton.
“You have to ask, did Bill Clinton go to the island? That’s the question. If you find that out, you’re gonna know a lot,” the president said.
Mr. Trump on Saturday retweeted a conspiracy theory that claims to link the Clintons to Epstein’s death. In a statement, a Clinton spokesman said the suggestion that the Clintons were involved is “ridiculous, and of course not true — and Donald Trump knows it.”
Attorneys representing some of Epstein’s alleged victims told CBS News they plan to file civil cases against his estate in the coming days. Some are even trying to tear up the now infamous 2008 plea deal Epstein made with Florida prosecutors which would make it easier for them to go after his accomplices.
Pat Milton contributed to this report.
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