On Tuesday, a union official for workers at the jail told the Washington Post that one of the guards on Epstein’s unit on Saturday – when he died – was not a regular correctional officer, but rather another form of prison employee who was directed to operate as a guard due to staffing shortages.
Both guards working on his unit were working overtime shifts, but it’s unclear whether they were doing so voluntarily.
The union representing federal prison guards, the American Federation of Government Employees Council of Prison Locals, said in a statement after Epstein’s death that many guards are forced to work overtime.
In a statement provided to BBC News, the organisation’s president Eric Young said prison employees who are not correctional officers – such as teachers, nurses, clerical workers – are often made to guard inmates due to a process known as “augmentation”.
What has Trump said?
President Donald Trump told reporters in New Jersey on Tuesday: “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. He’s doing a full investigation.”
He also defended his decision to retweet conspiracy theory that suggested that the Clinton family had Epstein killed.
“He’s a very highly respected conservative pundit,” Mr Trump said of comedian Terrence K Williams, who wrote the original post.
“He’s a big Trump fan. And that was a retweet. That wasn’t from me… So I think I was fine.”
The order comes one day after Mr Barr said he was “frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner.”
He added: “We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
Federal authorities will investigate how Jeffrey Epstein, a well-connected financier accused of orchestrating a sex trafficking ring that preyed on underage girls, was able to apparently commit suicide in federal custody, the United States attorney general has said.
The FBI and the Department of Justice’s inspector general’s office will conduct the investigation, US Attorney General William Barr said, hours after Epstein was found unresponsive in the Metropolitan Correctional Centre in Manhattan on Saturday.
“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said in a statement.
The investigation into the sex trafficking and conspiracy charges against the 66-year-old will continue despite his death, the federal attorney in charge of the probe also said on Saturday.
The inquiry could still ensnare others involved in the alleged crime, the official said.
Death in custody
The suicide has raised questions over prison authorities’ oversight of Epstein, who had been kept in a special area reserved for high-profile inmates.
Epstein had been placed on suicide watch and given daily psychiatric evaluations after an incident in July in which he was found with bruising on his neck, according to local media. It had not been confirmed whether the injury was self-inflicted or the result of an assault.
He was taken off the watch at the end of July and was not being monitored at the time of his death, the reports said.
Authorities took Epstein into custody on July 6 and he pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking that allegedly ensnared dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14.
The alleged offences took place in his homes in Manhattan, New York and Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005, according to prosecutors. If convicted, he faced up to 45 years in prison.
Epstein had previously lived a lavish lifestyle, often socialising with powerful people, including princes and US presidents. His arrest had put a spotlight on those relationships.
His most recent arrest also drew scrutiny to a 2008 deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida, while avoiding more serious federal charges.
The outcry led Alex Acosta, the then-US labour secretary who as a federal prosecutor helped Epstein negotiate the deal, to resign.
‘Heads must roll’
Accusers and elected officials expressed dismay that Epstein’s suicide allowed him to escape justice. They hoped the investigation would capture others involved in the alleged crimes.
Virginia Giuffre, an Epstein accuser who had filed a since-settled lawsuit against the financier’s former girlfriend, told the New York Times she was grateful Epstein will never harm anyone again, but was angry that there would be no chance to see him answer for his conduct.
“We’ve worked so hard to get here, and he stole that from us,” she told the newspaper.
Accuser Jennifer Araoz, in a statement, said that Epstein’s alleged victims will “have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives”.
Brad Edwards, a Florida lawyer for nearly two dozen other accusers, said that “this is not the ending anyone was looking for”.
“The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused,” Edwards said in a statement.
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse, a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, in a letter to Barr on Saturday, said that “heads must roll” after the incident.
“Every single person in the Justice Department … knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” Sasse wrote.
The human remains found in the Augusta woods in April 2019 have been identified as those of 29-year-old Megan Gregory who went missing June 2017.
Author: Beth McEvoy
AUGUSTA, Maine — The human remains found in the Augusta woods have been identified as those of Megan Gregory. Police were called to the densely wooded area south of the Route 3, near Cushnoc bridge where human remains had been found on April 7.
On Wednesday, April 24 the Medical Examiner Office used dental records to identify the body as Megan Gregory who was almost 28-years-old went she went missing in June 2017.
Police had said that Megan Gregory disappeared without a trace when she was last seen in a hotel parking lot in Augusta.
Gregory had spoken to her long-time friend, Stephanie Miller, every day before she disappeared. Miller told NEWS CENTER Maine that Gregory was staying at someone’s home and it was not a good situation.
The story behind a Palm Beach sex offender’s remarkable deal
Palm Beach multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein is a free man, despite sexually abusing dozens of underage girls according to police and prosecutors. His victims have never had a voice, until now.
A new victim has gone public in the Jeffrey Epstein case, filing a sworn affidavit in federal court in New York Tuesday, saying that she was sexually assaulted and her then-15-year-old sister molested by Epstein and his companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, in 1996.
Maria Farmer, then 26, claims that she was employed by Epstein, a multimillionaire financier who lived in a vast mansion on New York’s Upper East Side, and that she frequently saw “school-age girls’’ wearing uniforms come into the mansion and go upstairs. She was told that the girls were auditioning for modeling work, according to her affidavit.
Then an art student in New York, Farmer said she reported her assault to New York police and the FBI in 1996. FBI documents released April 1 make a reference to Farmer having been interviewed in 2006 or 2007. However, Farmer, now 49, said the FBI did not take any action against Epstein and Maxwell.
“To my knowledge, I was the first person to report Maxwell and Epstein to the FBI. It took a significant amount of bravery for me to make that call because I knew how incredibly powerful and influential both Epstein and Maxwell were, particularly in the art community,’’ she wrote.
Farmer’s affidavit is one of 15 exhibits attached to a defamation complaint filed in federal court in the Southern District of New York by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, against Alan Dershowitz, one of Epstein’s most vocal and powerful attorneys.
Giuffre claims in the lawsuit, as she has in past court filings, that Dershowitz, 80, knew about and participated in a sex-trafficking operation involving underage girls and run by Epstein and Maxwell, and that she was forced to have sex with Dershowitz and other prominent, wealthy menwhen she was underage.
Dershowitz has railed against the allegations for years, maintaining that he has never met Giuffre. He also says he has documents and other evidence that prove she is lying.
Farmer’s affidavit and other documents attached to the lawsuit are meant to bolster Giuffre’s case that Dershowitz has maliciously spread false information on behalf of Epstein in order to intimidate and silence her and other victims, according to the lawsuit.
“No sensible person looks forward to litigation,’’ Giuffre said in a statement. “And I know that standing up for myself and others will cause Mr. Dershowitz and Mr. Epstein to redouble their efforts to destroy me and my reputation. But I can no longer sit by and not respond. As my complaint shows, my abusers have sought to conceal their guilt behind a curtain of lies. My complaint calls for the accounting to which I, and their other victims, are entitled.”
Dershowitz said he welcomed the opportunity to finally prove in court that Giuffre is lying.
“Virtually everything in the complaint is false, and I will be able to disprove all of this in a court of law. I have told the truth throughout and I’ll be able to prove it. … I never met her, I never heard of her,’’ Dershowitz said.
In recent months, Dershowitz has waged a public relations war against Giuffre, her lawyers and the Miami Herald, which published a series of articles about Epstein in November. The series, “Perversion of Justice,” focused on how the former U.S. attorney in Miami, now Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, brokered a non-prosecution deal giving Epstein federal immunity, despite overwhelming evidence that he had sexually assaulted dozens of girls. The series mentioned Dershowitz, who represented Epstein during the negotiations, including Giuffre’s sex abuse allegations against the Harvard lawyer.
Once a friend of presidents, the ultra-rich and the elite of Wall Street’s bankers — plus a major benefactor to Harvard University — Jeffrey Epstein handled portfolios estimated to be worth over $15 billion. Then he became ensnared in a scandal involving the sexual abuse of underage girls. He is seen here, pre-scandal, at left, in conversation with Alan Dershowitz, one of America’s best-known legal experts and a Harvard Law professor emeritus, at a Cambridge event. Dershowitz became a key member of Epstein’s legal team.
Giuffre’s lawsuit does not provide evidence of Giuffre having sex with Dershowitz, or provide dates when the abuse allegedly happened. But it does provide a chapter-and-verse history of Dershowitz’s public statements and attempts to take each statement he’s made and discredit them.
For example, Dershowitz has said that he has never seen any underage girls when he visited Epstein at the financier’s various homes in Palm Beach, New Mexico and New York. But Farmer, who now lives in Kentucky, claims that one of her duties working for Epstein was to staff the front door to his New York estate and to keep track of visitors.
“On a number of occasions I witnessed Dershowitz at the NY mansion going upstairs at the same time there were young girls under the age of 18 who were present upstairs in the house,’’ she said in the affidavit, asserting that Dershowitz was so comfortable he would walk into the mansion and go directly upstairs.
Dershowitz said that would have been impossible because he did not meet Epstein until August 1996 on Martha’s Vineyard.
“I was never upstairs in Jeffrey Epstein’s apartment, never ever,’’ Dershowitz said. “This is typical of the complaints in this case by the [David] Boies firm, very sloppy. I would not have felt comfortable going upstairs because I didn’t know [Epstein] very well then.’’
Farmer did not say when she saw Dershowitz or if she saw him in the presence of any young girls. But the lawsuit points to at least one witness — former Palm Beach house manager Alfredo Rodriguez — who has alleged he did see Dershowitz in the presence of young girls and women at Epstein’s waterfront mansion. Rodriguez was prosecuted by the FBI for obstructing justice when he tried to sell Epstein’s “little black book’’ listing the hedge fund manager’s friends, business associates, celebrity guests and a long list of female masseuses. Rodriguez died in prison.
Another woman, Sarah Ransome, also submitted an affidavit with the lawsuit with new details about sex sheclaims she had with Dershowitz.
Ransome says that she was introduced to Epstein when she was 22 years old and living in New York. She claims that she spent time at Epstein’s mansion and was “lent out’’ by him to his friends for sex. Among those friends was Dershowitz, she said in the affidavit. She alleges she had a three-way sexual encounter with Dershowitz and Nadia Marcinkova, a young adult who also worked for Epstein.
“I recall specific, key details of his person and the sex acts and can describe them in the event it becomes necessary to do so,’’ Ransome said in the affidavit.
Dershowitz has publicly denounced both Giuffre’s and Ransome’s accusations, saying he has been able to “disprove” them.” It’s not clear, however, whom he has provided proof to, except to Louis J. Freeh, a former FBI director who released a statement in 2016 saying that he had conducted an independent review of Dershowitz’s information and concluded the Harvard law professor’s evidence contradicted Giuffre’s, and there was no evidence to support her allegations. Giuffre was never interviewed by the Freeh investigators, according to her lawyers.
Dershowitz allowed the Herald to review some of the documents that he says he has, but he has not released them for the Herald to substantiate the information that he gathered, including his personal calendars, which he claims prove he could not have been in the same locations as Giuffre when she was with Epstein, from 1999 to 2002. Following the online publication of this article, Dershowitz said he would provide those documents to the Herald, after redacting his clients’ private information.
Where are they now? The biggest players in the Jeffrey Epstein case
The girls who were abused by Jeffrey Epstein and the cops who championed their cause remain angry over what they regard as a gross injustice, while Epstein’s employees and those who engineered his non-prosecution agreement have prospered.
In recent months, Dershowitz has stepped up allegations that Giuffre’s accusations against him are part of an extortion plot to blackmail an Ohio billionaire. The billionaire is identified in the lawsuit as Les Wexner, the CEO of the Limited Brands, which includes Victoria’s Secret, who was Epstein’s top financial client.
Dershowitz alleges that Giuffre and David Boies, a prominent New York attorney known for representing Al Gore in the Supreme Court case that decided the presidency in 2000, falselyaccused him in order to get Wexner to pay hush money so that Wexner would not be similarly tarred by Giuffre.
But Giuffre has never publicly named Wexner as among those she was forced to have sex with. And in the lawsuit, she said that neither she nor her lawyers have ever demanded or received money from Wexner, 81. The lawsuit points out that Giuffre’s allegations against Dershowitz predated the time she was represented by Boies and his firm.
Boies partners Joshua Schiller and Sigrid McCawley filed the lawsuit on behalf of Giuffre, who lives in Australia.
Efforts to reach Epstein, Wexner and Maxwell for comment were not immediately successful.
Wexner also figures into Farmer’s story. In her affidavit, Farmer claims that during the time she was employed by Epstein, the financier arranged for her to work on an art project at Wexner’s Ohio mansion in the summer of 1996. She stayed at Wexner’s $47 million 30-room estate for a time, working on the project, while babysitting her two younger brothers, who were also staying with her at Wexner’s mansion, she said.
One day, Epstein and Maxwell visited and escorted her into a bedroom and then proceeded to sexually assault her, she wrote. She said she fled the room and called the local sheriff’s office, but did not get a response. When she tried to leave the property, she said Wexner’s security staff refused to let her go.
How a teen runaway became one of Jeffrey Epstein’s victims
Virginia Roberts was working at Mar-a-Lago when she was recruited to be a masseuse to Palm Beach hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein. She was lured into a life of depravity and sexual abuse.
“I was held against my will for 12 hours until I was ultimately allowed to leave with my father,’’ she said in the affidavit.
During this same time period, she said Epstein took her and her younger sister, then 15, to a movie in New York, where he allegedly rubbed her younger sister in a sexual manner. He then flew the 15-year-old to his ranch in New Mexico, promising her mother that he would help with her education, Farmer said.
Instead, Epstein and Maxwell directed her sister to take off all her clothes and get on a massage table, where they touched her inappropriately, Farmer said. Epstein subsequently flew the sister to Thailand to study, and Farmer did not learn until later what happened to her at the ranch.
Afterward, she said Epstein and Maxwell called her multiple times, threatening her. “Maxwell and Epstein contacted my art clients and individuals in the art community in an effort to ruin my art career,’’ she said, adding that they were successful in shutting down any art-related opportunities.
Journalist Vicky Ward interviewed Farmer, her sister and their mother in 2002 for Vanity Fair, but the interviews were stricken from the piece before publication. In a 2015 piece Ward wrote for the Daily Beast, the writer said that Epstein had pressured Vanity Fair’s then-editor, Graydon Carter, not to publish the allegation. She said he also attacked Ward and tried to discredit the mother and her daughters, who were never named.
Farmer said she finally came forward with the court filing to support Giuffre in hopes that Epstein and Maxwell will be prosecuted.
“I have struggled throughout my entire life as a direct result of Epstein and Maxwell’s actions against me and my hope is that they will be held accountable for their crimes. While I am still afraid, I am coming forward because I think it is so important to do so,’’ she said.
The affidavit does not say what her sister was studying in Thailand, but Giuffre was also flown by Epstein to Thailand in 2002 to study massage therapy. It was then that Giuffre met her future husband and fled with him to Australia.
AG nominee Barr pledges to look into handling of Epstein case
Sen. Ben Sasse questioned attorney general nominee William Barr about the Jeffrey Epstein case on January 15, 2019, getting the nominee to commit to having the Department of Justice look into the handling of that case if confirmed.
The lawsuit says that Giuffre first told others about sex with Dershowitz at the time it allegedly happened, and in 2009, although the suit doesn’t identify the individuals she told. In 2011, Giuffre was represented by lawyers Bradley Edwards and Paul Cassell, who wrote Dershowitz to inform him that witnesses had placed him at various locations with Epstein while Epstein was with minors who were subsequently identified as victims of sexual assault, the suit says.
The lawyers were concerned in part because Dershowitz had been a prominent lawyer for Epstein who had assailed some of Epstein’s victims in 2006 in an attempt to impugn their credibility. Also, they found it curious that Epstein’s deal included a blanket immunity for co-conspirators of his operation who were not named.
The lawsuit claims that Dershowitz masterminded the deal in order to give himself immunity, an allegation that Dershowitz expressly denies.
Giuffre’s sexual allegations against Dershowitz became public in 2014 as part of a court filing by Edwards and Cassell. Dershowitz publicly called for the disbarment of the two lawyers, leading them to file a defamation suit against Dershowitz which was subsequently settled, with Dershowitz paying the two lawyers a substantial amount of money, the suit says. Dershowitz falsely claimed that he was exonerated, when in fact, the settlement was reached in Edwards’ and Cassell’s favor, according to the new lawsuit.
Additionally, Dershowitz tried and failed to get Giuffre to issue a statement that she had been mistaken,the lawsuit asserts.
In December 2015, Dershowitz wrote an email to Boies, who began representing Giuffre in 2015. A copy of the email, attached to the lawsuit, shows that Dershowitz suggested that Giuffre submit a statement saying that she had possibly erred when she identified Dershowitz.
“We should be aiming at a short simple statement such as: ‘the events at issue occurred approximately 15 years ago when I was a teenager. Although I believed then and continued to believe that [Dershowitz] was the person with whom I had sex, recent developments raise the possibility that this may be a case of mistaken identification’,’’ Dershowitz suggested in the email.
During that same time period, November and December 2015, Dershowitz also engaged in several conversations with Boies, as part of an attempt to settle the defamation claim brought by Cassell and Edwards. Dershowitz recorded some of those calls, and played excerpts for the Herald.
The recordings are difficult to decipher, with static that seems to blur the context of some of the conversations. But a transcript supplied by Dershowitz appears to show Boies conceding that Giuffre was mistaken in identifying Dershowitz. Boies says Dershowitz taped him without his permission and that he took his comments out of context.
“He conflated the conversations, and they are not in the order that they happened,’’ Boies said, stating that he was merely assuring Dershowitz that, if they found evidence that Giuffre’s recollections were mistaken, they would have come to an agreement to issue the statement he wanted.
Ultimately, Boies said, they found her to be truthful, and she passed a lie detector test.
“Dershowitz … played and described excerpts from those tapes out of context to reporters to try to make it appear that Ms. Roberts’ lawyer’s hypothetical comments, and characterizations of Dershowitz’s assertions, represented that lawyer’s conclusions,’’ the suit says.
To further rebut Dershowitz’s recordings, a sworn affidavit is included from another attorney who said that he was present when Dershowitz misconstrued what Boies was saying. One of the suggestions that Dershowitz proffered was that Giuffre had confused the Harvard professor with another academic — Dershowitz names him — claiming that the professor looked like him. Giuffre, however, was shown a photo of that other professor and was adamant that she had not confused him with Dershowitz, the lawsuit says.
“Mr. Dershowitz expressed to me that he believed he was making progress in convincing Mr. Boies that [Giuffre] was mistaken in identifying Mr. Dershowitz with someone with whom she had sex. I told Mr. Dershowitz that I thought he was overly optimistic and reading things into what Mr. Boies was saying and hearing what he wanted to hear,’’ wrote the lawyer, David S. Stone, a senior managing partner of Boies’ firm who previously worked with Dershowitz on the Claus von Bulow attempted murder case, involving a socialite accused of giving his wife an overdose of insulin.
The suit also said Sarah Ransome had accused Epstein and Maxwell of trafficking her for sex to Dershowitz and others, and that Dershowitz also tried to discredit Ransome similarly to how he had Giuffre.
“After Dershowitz’s claimed proof of evidence collapsed, and the evidence of his guilt grew, Roberts’ lawyers told Dershowitz in writing that they ‘had discovered evidence inconsistent with some of [your] representations,’ noting that some of his travel records were incomplete, and therefore were not adequate to show he could not have been in the same place as Giuffre during the time she was working for Epstein, the lawsuit said.
Giuffre claims that Dershowitz is still working on behalf of Epstein, who is using Dershowitz to intimidate victims to deter them from coming forward, fearing a new federal investigation, the suit says.
In February, a federal judge ruled that the non-prosecution agreement Epstein received was illegally brokered by Acosta and other prosecutors in violation of the Crime Victims’ Rights Act. As a result, the deal is being reviewed by the Justice Department, which has also opened a probe into Acosta’s handling of the Epstein case.
Under a broader deal, Epstein pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in state court and was sentenced to 18 months in the county jail. He served 13 months, but spent most of his sentence in work release, which allowed him to leave the Palm Beach jail for up to 12 hours a day, six days a week, to go to his office in West Palm Beach.
The Manhattan DA’s office had graphic and detailed evidence of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s depravity when a prosecutor inexplicably argued for leniency during his 2011 sex offender registry hearing, The New York Post has learned.
In advance of the hearing, then-deputy chief of Sex Crimes, Jennifer Gaffney, had been given a confidential state assessment that deemed Epstein to be highly dangerous and likely to keep preying on young girls, the DA’s office admitted in its own appellate brief eight months after the hearing.
It describes a state assessment’s findings that Epstein should be monitored in New York as a level three offender — reserved for the most dangerous.
In making its assessment, the NY state Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders evaluated the sworn, corroborated accounts of numerous young girls who had been lured into Epstein’s Palm Beach, Fla., compound in 2005 and 2006.
Girls aged 14 to 17 years old were recruited and paid $200 to $1,000 to give Epstein erotic massages that included sexual contact, intercourse and rape, Palm Beach cops found.
Epstein pleaded guilty in Palm Beach to abusing just one of these young victims, and was required to register as a sex offender in New York since he had an Upper East Side home.
Manhattan prosecutors were aware the state board had assigned Epstein a risk assessment of 130, a number that is “solidly above the 110 qualifying number for level three,” with “absolutely no basis for downward departure,” the brief notes.
Nevertheless, Deputy-Chief of Sex Crimes Jennifer Gaffney argued that he should be labeled a level one offender, the least restrictive, which would keep him off the online database.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Ruth Pickholz sided with the board and against Gaffney in designating Epstein a level three offender. Epstein appealed, and the DA’s change-of-heart brief agreeing that Epstein deserved the highest level of monitoring was filed in opposition to that appeal.
The appellate division ultimately upheld that Epstein be monitored as a level three offender, and he remains on the registry.
“Our prosecutor made a mistake,” Danny Frost, spokesman for DA Cyrus Vance Jr., told The Post in December, when news broke that Epstein’s sweetheart Palm Beach deal had buried evidence he had allegedly abused some 80 girls and young women.
Reached late Thursday, Frost declined to say who above Gaffney might have approved her decision to go easy on Epstein. Vance’s office has insisted that he was unaware of the sex-offender registry hearing at the time.
Gaffney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Priscilla DeGregory and Laura Italiano