The Latest: Judge asks for details about Epstein jail injury
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s death (all times local):
The judge in a criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein has pressed the warden for answers about how the financier became injured in jail last month.
Epstein sustained bruising to the neck on July 23, but officials have never said whether the injuries were self-inflected or the result of an assault. He was temporarily placed on suicide watch and subsequently killed himself.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman asked about the episode in a letter Monday to Metropolitan Correctional Center Warden Lamine N’Diaye.
Berman said that to his knowledge, the incident “has never been definitively explained.”
N’Diaye replied that an internal investigation was completed but that he couldn’t provide information because the findings were being incorporated into investigations into Epstein’s death.
N’Diaye has been temporarily reassigned.
The letters were made public Wednesday.
Lawyers for Jeffrey Epstein say his death means there is no need to consider scrapping an agreement that protected the financier from federal prosecution over a decade ago.
The attorneys said in court papers Wednesday there is no legally sufficient reason for a Florida federal judge to throw out the non-prosecution agreement. The judge previously agreed with some Epstein accusers that federal prosecutors violated a crime victims’ law by not consulting them as required about the once-secret deal.
The question now is what to do about that violation. Epstein’s lawyers contend his suicide at a New York jail essentially ends the victims’ claims.
The 66-year-old Epstein was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges when he died. As part of the deal to avoid federal prosecution, he pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.
A Justice Department official says more than half of the staff in the Metropolitan Correctional Center at the time Jeffrey Epstein killed himself was working overtime.
The official said 18 staff members working in the jail, and 10 were them on overtime. There was one additional post that wasn’t filled during that shift, which ran from midnight until 8 a.m.
Two guards who were supposed to be watching Epstein were placed on leave Tuesday. The official said one had worked overtime shifts a number of days in a row and the other guard was on mandatory overtime, working a double.
The official was not authorized to disclose the information publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
— By Michael Balsamo
A woman who says she was raped by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a teenager is suing his estate and three of his associates.
Jennifer Araoz filed the lawsuit Wednesday against Epstein’s former girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell and three unnamed members of his staff. It is one of many lawsuits expected to be filed by Epstein’s accusers after a new state law went into effect Wednesday.
Araoz says Epstein had several sexual encounters with her when she was underage and forcibly raped her in 2002.
The lawsuit blames Maxwell for helping Esptein recruit underage girls.
Maxwell’s publicist and lawyers didn’t immediately respond to emails seeking comment. She has previously denied wrongdoing.
The AP only names alleged sexual assault victims if they consent to being identified, as Araoz has done.
A person familiar with the probe of Jeffrey Epstein’s death at a federal jail says guards are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates in his unit every half hour, when they actually weren’t.
Surveillance video reviewed after the 66-year-old financier’s suspected suicide over the weekend shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, according to the person familiar with the investigation.
The person wasn’t authorized to disclose information and spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity.
The development comes as the federal jail in Manhattan where Epstein was being held comes under increasing scrutiny in the wake of Epstein’s suicide over the weekend.