The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is looking into why two security cameras that had views of Jeffrey Epstein’s cell were supposedly broken at the time of his death, Reuters reports.
Eptstein died on August 10 while incarcerated at New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. The New York City Medical Examiner’s office determined that the wealthy financier died of suicide by hanging. However, that conclusion has been challenged by Epstein’s lawyers, the FBI, and the Inspector General of the U.S. Justice Department, all of which are conducting their own investigations into Epstein’s death.
Epstein’s death is surrounded by unanswered questions, not the least of which is why he was removed from suicide watch. Investigators also want to know if his death even was a suicide, as well as why there is no security camera footage of his death.
At least two security cameras had a view of Epstein’s cell at the time of his death. According to a Monday Washington Post report, investigators found usable footage from at least one camera, and unusable footage from at least one other camera. What is in that footage, how much of it there is, how much of it is usable, and how much of it is unusable, is unclear, as of this writing. Also unclear is why, specifically, the footage is unusable.
The two malfunctioning cameras have been sent to an FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, where forensic scientists analyze evidence. It remains to be seen if investigators will be able to find anything useful in the cameras.
Washington Post writers Carol D. Leonnig and Matt Zapotosky note that the fact that cameras pointed at a high-profile inmate’s cell not working when he reportedly died of suicide is just one of several institutional failures at the jail. In addition to cameras not working, guards at the jail, which was described as “understaffed,” failed to check on him every 30 minutes, as they were required to do. Authorities also want to know if the prison logs had been falsified.
Of the two guards on duty in Epstein’s wing at the time of his death, one was working involuntary mandatory overtime, while the other was working overtime without having been mandated to do so.
Casting further suspicion on Epstein’s death is the fact that weeks earlier, on July 23, Epstein was found on the floor of his jail cell with marks around his neck. Authorities determined that he had tried to commit suicide, while Epstein reportedly said that he “believed” he’d been attacked by his cell mate.