The two prison guards responsible for keeping watch over Jeffrey Epstein have reportedly been offered plea deals from federal prosecutors as the criminal investigation into the billionaire convicted sex offender's suicide reportedly ramps up.
The Associated Press reported on Friday that federal prosecutors had offered deals to two correctional officers, but both declined the offer. The report noted that the existence of the plea deals shows that the Justice Department is moving ahead with criminal charges in relation to Epstein's death by suicide in a federal prison in Manhattan in August.
Epstein reportedly took his own life by hanging himself in his jail cell, despite two guards who were tasked with keeping close watch over him. The guards are suspected of fabricating log entries to show that they had checked in on him every 30 minutes as required, and the plea deal would have forced them to admit that the records were faked. Epstein had already been on suicide watch after being found in his jail cell with injuries to his neck, but he was taken off the watch close to one week before his death.
As the report noted, Epstein's death led to an investigation that showed there was chronic understaffing at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, which forced guards to work long shifts and frequent overtime, with some regular employees forced to take over duties carried out by guards. Still, his death was considered highly unusual for the federal facility, where no inmate had died by suicide in 13 years.
Epstein's death by suicide drew widespread condemnation both on the facility and the Department of Justice, which oversees the center and all other federal prisons. The financier, who had already been convicted of procuring an underage girl for prostitution and following a series of investigative stories about his alleged schemes to recruit young girls into an underage sex ring, had been arrested again on a new set of charges. His death brought an end to the case against him, though alleged victims are still pursuing civil claims against his estate.