Attorney General William Barr said Monday that he was “appalled” by Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide over the weekend, but urged that the millionaire pedophile’s co-conspirators “should not rest easy.”
“This sex trafficking case was very important to the Department of Justice and to me personally,” Barr said during a speech before the National Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans.
Epstein died early Saturday morning after he seemingly hanged himself in his jail cell at Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC), a federal jail facility in New York City.
Epstein was reportedly not on suicide watch, even though he is believed to have attempted suicide more than two weeks ago. According to news reports, there is no video of Epstein in his jail cell, and the correctional officers tasked with monitoring him had worked overtime.
A New York City medical examiner said that more time is needed to determine Epstein’s cause of death, though it is being treated as a suicide.
On Friday, a federal judge in New York unsealed thousands of pages of documents from a lawsuit against Epstein. The documents alleged that Epstein and his longtime assistant, Ghislaine Maxwell, operated an international sex trafficking ring of underage girls. Several well-known international figures are identified in the documents, including former Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, former Democratic Sen. George Mitchell, and Prince Andrew.
Barr ordered an FBI investigation of the circumstances of Epstein’s death. He also directed the Justice Department inspector general’s investigation to investigate MCC’s handling of Epstein.
“I was appalled, and indeed the whole department was, and frankly angry, to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner,” Barr said.
“We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation.”