Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - US says ‘serious irregularities’ at Epstein jail, pledges to hunt any co-conspirators

US says ‘serious irregularities’ at Epstein jail, pledges to hunt any co-conspirators

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Metropolitan Correctional Facility, where Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell, is seen on Saturday in New York City. DAVID DEE DELGADO/GETTY IMAGES/AFP

US says ‘serious irregularities’ at Epstein jail, pledges to hunt any co-conspirators

US attorney General Bill Barr pledged on Monday to pursue any co-conspirators of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, saying there were “serious irregularities” at the jail where the disgraced financier died of an apparent suicide.

Barr’s comments came as FBI agents reportedly raided Epstein’s private Caribbean island, two days after the convicted paedophile was found dead in his cell while awaiting trial on federal charges that he trafficked underage girls for sex.

Barr, who heads the government’s Justice Department and oversees federal prisons, said he was “appalled” and “frankly angry” to learn of the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center’s failure to adequately secure the jail.

“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation.

“The FBI and office of the inspector general are doing just that. We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability,”said Barr.

FBI agents searched Epstein’s luxury home on Little St James in the US Virgin Islands on Monday morning, using golf carts to get around, NBC News reported.

The FBI is investigating how Epstein, 66, was able to take his own life in a high-security facility just weeks after he was found unconscious with marks on his neck following an earlier reported suicide attempt.

Media reports said Epstein, who hobnobbed with numerous politicians and celebrities over the years, had been taken off suicide watch.

US newspapers also reported that prison guards were working overtime due to major staff shortages at the jail and that Epstein had been left without a cellmate, which was against protocol.

A prison guards union said on Monday that thousands of vacancies had created “dangerous conditions” at federal jails across the US.

Epstein’s death came a day after a court released documents in which one of his alleged victims said she was forced to have sex with well-known US political and business personalities.

Even though Epstein’s death ended his criminal prosecution, Barr said prosecutors would pursue cases against anyone else involved in his alleged crimes.

“Let me assure you this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy. The victims deserve justice and they will get it,” he said.

Epstein had been charged with one count of sex trafficking of minors and one count of conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of minors.

British socialite

Prosecutors said Epstein sexually exploited dozens of underage teens, some as young as 14, at his homes in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005.

The young women were paid hundreds of dollars in cash to massage him, perform sexual acts and to recruit other girls, prosecutors alleged.

Epstein, who faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted, denied the charges.

In testimony released on Friday, alleged victim Virginia Giuffre said she was used as a “sex slave” by Epstein and farmed out to some of his high-profile associates.

Giuffre, now 36, has alleged she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew, former US Senator and architect of the Northern Irish peace deal George Mitchell, ex-New Mexico governor Bill Richardson and US celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

They have all strenuously denied the allegations.

Giuffre says she was recruited and abused by Epstein’s friend Ghislaine Maxwell, an English socialite whose father was former British newspaper baron Robert Maxwell. Maxwell has accused Giuffre of being a liar.

Giuffre also says she was sent to a French businessman. Two French government ministers called for an investigation on Monday.

Epstein, whose friends also included US President Donald Trump and former US President Bill Clinton, had been convicted in 2008 in a Florida state court of paying young girls for sexual massages at his Palm Beach mansion.

Epstein served just 13 months in jail over the Florida charges under a plea deal struck by the then federal prosecutor in the state, Alex Acosta, who was forced to resign as US labour secretary last month over the issue.


  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • PM urges precaution amid virus outbreak

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday called on all Cambodians to bump up precautions to avoid contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has already killed more than 50 people in China. The prime minister told the public to remain calm but alert about the possibility of

  • Gov’t slams NGO over 2019 corruption report

    The government on Thursday slammed a report that described the Kingdom as highly corrupt. Government spokesperson Phay Siphan dismissed the latest Transparency International (TI) report as “just an advertisement of NGOs to promote their own interests”. Released on Thursday, the report puts Cambodia near the

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • App to connect farmers to millions

    The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has soft-launched a mobile app that connects farmers with potential buyers and gives them access to critical market information. The ministry’s Agriculture Marketing Office chief Meach Yady said the ‘CamAgriMarket’ app gives farmers a platform to showcase

  • Gov’t ups security to block virus

    With the new coronavirus claiming its 17th life in China, the Cambodian Ministry of Health on Thursday said it is taking measures to ensure the disease does not enter the Kingdom, including inspecting all flights from Wuhan City, the outbreak’s epicentre. Ministry secretary of