Jeffrey Epstein sat in the corner of his Manhattan Jail cell two weeks before committing su*cide, his hands over his ears, seeking to drown out the sound of a toilet that wouldn’t stop running.
Jail records obtained by Epstein were anxious and unable to sleep. He referred to himself as a “coward.” He said he was having to adjust to life behind bars after his arrest on federal s*x trafficking and conspiracy charges in July 2019 – his life of luxury reduced to a concrete and steel cage.
At the time, the disgraced banker was being evaluated for a su*cide attempt that had left his neck bruised and scratched. Despite being on su*cide watch for 31 hours, Epstein argued he wasn’t su*cidal, telling a Jail psychologist he had a “wonderful life” and it would be “crazy” to ki!! it. Epstein d!ed on August 10, 2019.
The Associated Press got almost 4,000 pages of data linked to Epstein’s deαth from the federal Bureau of Pr!sons under the Freedom of Information Act nearly four years later.
They include Epstein’s health history, internal agency reports, emails, memos, and other papers, and a full psychiatric reconstruction of the circumstances leading to his su*cide.
The documents obtained by the AP on Thursday provide the most comprehensive account to date of Epstein’s incarceration and death, as well as the tumultuous aftermath.
The data assist in refuting the numerous conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein’s su*cide, highlighting how fundamental flaws at the Bureau of Pr!sons, such as significant staffing shortages and employees cutting costs, contributed to Epstein’s deαth.
They shed light on the federal pr!son agency’s confusing response after Epstein was discovered unresponsive in his cell at New York City’s now-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center.
In one email, a prosecutor involved in Epstein’s criminal case expressed dissatisfaction with the Bureau of Pr!sons’ lack of information in the critical hours following his deαth, writing that it was “frankly unbelievable” that the agency was issuing public press releases “before telling us basic information so that we can relay it to his attorneys, who can relay it to his family.”
In another email, a high-ranking Bureau of Pr!sons official suggested to the agency’s director that news reporters must have paid Jail employees for information about Epstein’s deαth because they reported details of the agency’s failings, undermining the ethics of journalists and agency employees.
The documents also shed light on Epstein’s actions during his 36-day incarceration, including his previously unknown attempt to communicate via mail with another high-profile pedophile: Larry Nassar, the U.S. gymnastics team doctor convicted of s*xually abusing several athletes.
Epstein’s letter to Nassar was discovered in the Jail’s mail room and returned to sender weeks after Epstein’s deαth.
“It appeared he mailed it out and it was returned to him,” the investigator who discovered the letter wrote in an email to a jail official. “I’m not sure if I should open it or if we should give it to anyone.” The letter itself was not among the documents provided.
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The night before his deαth, Epstein excused himself from a meeting with his lawyers to call his family. According to a unit manager’s memo, Epstein informed a jail employee that he was calling his mother, who had been deceased for 15 years at the time.
Following Epstein’s deαth, the Bureau of Pr!sons closed the Metropolitan Correctional Center in 2021. It sparked an AP investigation that discovered severe, previously unknown problems at the Justice Department’s most prominent institution, which has more than 30,000 workers, 158,000 convicts, and an $8 billion annual budget.
An undated internal report issued following Epstein’s deαth blamed the jail’s problems on “seriously reduced staffing levels, improper or lack of training, and follow up and oversight.”
The document also described efforts by the Bureau of Pr!sons to address shortcomings exposed by Epstein’s su*cide, including requiring supervisors to watch surveillance video to ensure personnel performed mandated cell checks.
Martin Weinberg, those kept at the facility were subjected to “medieval conditions of confinement that no American defendant should have been subjected to.”
“It’s sad, tragic, that it took this kind of event to finally cause the Bureau of Pr!sons to close this regrettable institution,” Weinberg said by phone Thursday.
Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, the workers assigned to watch Epstein the night he ki!!ed was accused of lying on pr!son records to make it appear that they had completed their required checks before Epstein was discovered lifeless. Epstein’s cellmate failed to return from a court appearance the day before, and Jail officials could not match him with another pr!soner, leaving him alone.
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Prosecutors claimed they sat at their computers barely 15 feet (4.6 meters) from Epstein’s cell, browsed online for furniture and motorcycles, and wandered around the unit’s common area instead of the mandated 30-minute rounds.
Both looked asleep for two hours. Noel and Thomas acknowledged fabricating the log entries but escaped pr!son because of a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Copies of some of the logs, with the guards’ signatures obscured, were included among Thursday’s records.
Another inquiry is still ongoing by the Justice Department’s inspector general.
On July 6, 2019, Epstein arrived at the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The psychological reconstruction of his deαth, he spent 22 hours in the Jail’s general population before being transferred to the particular housing unit “due to the significant increase in media coverage and awareness of his notoriety among the inmate population.”
Epstein later stated that he was irritated by having to wear an orange jumpsuit issued to convicts in the particular housing unit and that he was portrayed as a “bad guy” while being well-behaved behind bars. For his near-daily visits with his lawyers, he requested a brown uniform.
During an initial health screening, the 66-year-old admitted having had ten or more female s*xual partners in the previous five years. He had sleep apnea, constipation, hypertension, lower back discomfort, and prediabetes and had previously been treated for chlamydia.
Epstein made some steps to adjust to his jailhouse circumstances. He requested a Kosher dinner and informed jail officials via his lawyer that he wanted to exercise outside.
Epstein purchased an AM/FM radio and headphones from the Jail commissary for $73.85 two days before he was discovered deαd. When he d!ed, he had $566 in his account.
Epstein’s situation worsened when a court denied him bail on July 18, 2019, heightening the possibility that he will be imprisoned until trial and possibly longer.
He risked up to 45 years in pr!son if convicted. Epstein was discovered on the floor of his cell four days later, wrapped in a bedsheet around his neck.
Epstein made it. His injuries did not necessitate hospitalization. He was put on su*cide watch and then under mental surveillance. In Jail logs, police noticed he was “sitting at the edge of the bed, lost in thought” and sat “with his head against the wall.”
Epstein mentioned his dissatisfaction with the Jail’s commotion and lack of sleep. Epstein’s sleep apnea breathing device was unavailable during his first few weeks in the Metropolitan Correctional Center. The toilet in his cell then began to malfunction.
“He was still left in the same cell with a broken toilet,” wrote the Jail’s top psychologist the next day in an email. “When he returns from legal, please move him to the cell next door because the toilet is still broken.”
A federal judge released nearly 2,000 pages of records in Epstein’s s*xual assault complaint the day before he committed su*cide. This development drastically damaged Epstein’s lofty position.
This, along with a lack of meaningful interpersonal relationships and “the prospect of potentially spending his life in pr!son,” were likely factors in Mr. Epstein’s su*cide.
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