At least one guard on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein died in prison is expected to surrender Tuesday at federal court in Manhattan to face charges that are expected to include falsifying records, according to a source familiar with the case.
CNN reported last week that at least one federal prison worker had been offered a plea deal, and that the plea deal negotiations between prosecutors and attorneys indicated forthcoming charges by the Department of Justice relating to Epstein’s death.
The New York Times, citing a person briefed on the case, and the Washington Post, citing people familiar with the matter, report that a second guard could also be charged as early as this week.
The expected charges come more than three months after Epstein was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal detention facility in lower Manhattan. He was awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach estate, and allegedly paying girls as young as 14 for sex. He had pleaded not guilty.
New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled his August 10 death a suicide by hanging, though a former medical examiner hired by Epstein’s legal team has disagreed with that conclusion.
At the time of his death, Epstein was perhaps the highest-profile inmate in the country, and his apparent suicide sparked an investigation by the Manhattan US Attorney’s office into the circumstances of his death as well as public outcry about oversight at the federal prison.
Of the two officers who were responsible for monitoring Epstein the night he died, one was not a detention guard but was temporarily reassigned to that post, according to a person briefed on the matter. The guard, a man not identified by officials, had previously been trained as a corrections officer but had moved to another position.
The second staff member on Epstein duty was a woman fully trained as a guard, according to the person briefed on the matter. Both guards were working overtime shifts, but it’s unclear whether that was mandatory.
Rules at the Federal Bureau of Prisons allow people who work in other prison jobs, such as teachers and cooks, to be trained to fill in for posts usually manned by regular guards.
Epstein’s suicide exposed what the prison’s employee union has said are chronically overworked and short-staffed conditions at the Metropolitan Correction Center, including forced overtime and officers reassigned to guard duty.
In the wake of his death, Attorney General William Barr said there were “serious irregularities” at the prison, and he removed the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons.