Warden at jail where Epstein died is removed

WASHINGTON • US Attorney-General William Barr ordered the removal of the warden at the federal jail where financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, the Justice Department said on Tuesday, after condemning "serious irregularities" at the facility.

The New York Times, citing unnamed officials, reported that the two guards on duty to watch Epstein and other prisoners were asleep for some or all of the three hours that Epstein was believed to have been left alone in his cell without checks.

Epstein was found dead last Saturday morning, having apparently hanged himself in his cell.

The department's announcement of the staff changes came hours after President Donald Trump said he wanted a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein's death.

Mr Trump earlier on Tuesday praised Mr Barr's handling of the matter, adding: "I want a full investigation, and that's what I absolutely am demanding. That's what our attorney general, our great attorney general is doing."

Speaking to reporters in Morristown, New Jersey, Mr Trump also defended his decision last Saturday to retweet an unfounded conspiracy theory from a conservative comedian named Terrence K. Williams that former president Bill Clinton was involved in Epstein's death.

"He's a very highly respected conservative pundit," Mr Trump said of Mr Williams. "He's a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn't from me..."

New York City's medical examiner has said an autopsy on Epstein was completed on Sunday.

US lawmakers want the government to hold responsible people who allegedly helped Epstein engage in sex trafficking.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2019, with the headline 'Warden at jail where Epstein died is removed'. Print Edition | Subscribe