The House Judiciary Committee is looking into the circumstances of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s death at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, which was reported as a suicide, requiring answers from the Bureau of Prisons to a number of questions.
Democratic House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler and the panel’s top Republican Representative Doug Collins sent a letter Monday to the Bureau of Prisons’ acting director Hugh Hurwitz, demanding answers to over 20 questions regarding the conditions of Epstein’s confinement, his monitoring before his death and his removal from suicide watch.
Nadler and Collins are likewise seeking details on the Bureau of Prisons’ suicide prevention policies and want to know if they were implemented in Epstein’s case.
“The apparent suicide of this high-profile and — if allegations are proven to be accurate — particularly reprehensible individual while in the federal government’s custody demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice,” Nadler and Collins wrote, as cited by CNN.
The bipartisan investigation comes only a few days after Attorney General William Barr announced that the FBI and the Justice Department’s internal watchdog would look into Epstein’s death. On Monday, he said that investigators had discovered “serious irregularities” at the jail where Epstein was held, adding that he was “appalled” by them.
However, the two lawmakers stressed that they wanted to obtain information regarding the apparent suicide and the circumstances surrounding it before the Justice Department investigations are finalized. The Judiciary panel is asking for a response no later than August 21.
“The Attorney General has stated that the FBI and the Inspector General of the Department of Justice are investigating the death of Mr. Epstein, and we look forward to learning the results of their inquiries,” Nadler and Collins wrote. “However, it is imperative that the Committee on the Judiciary, which has the responsibility to exercise oversight over the Department of Justice, receive responses to these questions related to the adequacy of BOP’s suicide prevention policies and their implementation in this instance, as soon as possible.”