Psychologist removed Epstein from suicide watch
WASHINGTON–The Justice Department late Friday acknowledged that accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein had been removed from suicide watch prior to his death by a “doctoral-level psychologist” who determined that continued monitoring was “no longer warranted.”
The written response to questions posed by House Judiciary Committee leaders offered little new information about the circumstances surrounding the disgraced financier’s suicide earlier this month at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
The Justice Department said it was limited in what could be disclosed because of three continuing investigations into the death led by the FBI, the department’s inspector general and the Bureau of Prisons.
More: Federal prison suicides were quietly rising before Jeffrey Epstein’s death in a New York detention center
Attorney General William Barr has previously said that “serious irregularities” existed at the detention center when Epstein hanged himself with a bedsheet.
Earlier this week, Barr removed the prison agency’s acting director and installed former BOP Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer to serve another term as chief of the nation’s largest prison system.
More: Attorney General ousts head of federal prison system in aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s death
Last week, the attorney general reassigned the Manhattan facility’s warden, while two staffers assigned to Epstein’s unit were placed on leave.
As part of the inquiry, authorities are investigating whether staffers slept through required cell checks before Epstein took his own life.
Epstein, 66, was awaiting trial following last month’s indictment on charges of sex trafficking and sex-trafficking conspiracy. Federal prosecutors alleged that he “sexually exploited and abused dozens of minor girls at his homes” in Manhattan and Palm Beach, Florida, and at other locations from 2002-2005.
In Friday’s letter to lawmakers, Justice re-affirmed that the investigation into Epstein’s alleged sex crimes was continuing.
More: Jeffrey Epstein is dead. Prosecutors could still go after his inner circle if they helped him prey on young girls
“Although Epstein is deceased, the department’s case against anyone who was complicit in his alleged crimes will continue,” the letter stated.