Among the many people stunned and dismayed by Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide on Saturday is former federal prison warden Cameron Lindsay, who told NBC News that it was nothing less than “shocking” that the Metropolitan Correctional Center would take the imprisoned millionaire off suicide watch in the wake of a troubling incident last month.
Epstein, who was being charged with sex trafficking stemming from a host of allegations against him – many of which involve underage girls – was found dead in his MCC prison cell on Saturday morning. After attempts to revive him did not work, he was pronounced dead at the hospital. This outrageous turn of events comes on the heels of what appeared to be an unsuccessful suicide attempt on July 23, when Epstein was found unconscious in his cell with suspicious markings around his neck. While it’s unclear why – or even if – he was taken off suicide watch after this incident, the fact that he was apparently able to hang himself indicates that he probably was.
Incompetence? Bribery? Something more sinister? The facts aren’t known, but given the danger Epstein’s legal trouble posed for many powerful people, this is one death guaranteed to keep the conspiracy theories flying for years.
As for Lindsay, he says it’s unacceptable that the prison gave Epstein enough freedom that this could happen.
“For them to pull him off suicide watch is shocking,” said the ex-warden. “For someone this high-profile, with these allegations and this many victims, who has had a suicide attempt in the last few weeks, you can take absolutely no chances. You leave him on suicide watch until he’s out of there.
“It’s too early to say what I think should happen, but if this did occur as we believe that it did, some staff are going to have some hard questions to answer,” he continued.
News of Epstein’s suicide sent waves of outrage through both sides of the political spectrum, and nowhere was it felt more acutely than within the Department of Justice. In a statement on Saturday, Attorney General William Barr assured the public that there would be a full investigation.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death,” Barr said.