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Reps. Nadler, Collins launch bipartisan probe into billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein’s death at Manhattan federal lockup


This March 28, 2017 image provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry shows Jeffrey Epstein. (AP)

The top Democrat and Republican on the House committee with oversight of U.S. prisons are asking the same question everybody else is: How the hell was accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein allowed to kill himself while in federal custody?

U.S. Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Doug Collins (R-Ga.) co-signed a letter Monday evening to Hugh Hurwitz, the acting director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, asking for answers to that question.

Epstein was found hanged in his cell at Manhattan’s BOP-operated Metropolitan Correctional Center Saturday morning.

“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,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins said in the letter.

"Any victims of Mr. Epstein’s actions will forever be denied proper recourse and the scintilla of recompense our justice system can provide in the face of such alleged atrocities," they added. "The competency and rigor of our criminal justice system has been marred by this apparent oversight."

The committee chiefs listed 23 questions relating to the Bureau of Prison’s suicide prevention policies, and how they were implemented in the case of Epstein. They particularly quizzed Hurwitz over revelations that Epstein had been on suicide watch for some of his time behind bars, how that suicide watch was ended, and how Epstein was evaluated.

They also asked how Epstein had been housed, the staffing level, how often he was checked and whether there was video surveillance. Nadler and Collins said they wanted access to any and all documents and records that could answer their questions and gave Hurwitz until Aug. 21 to respond.

The BOP did not return requests for comment late Monday.

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks during a news conference, in New York, Wednesday, May 29.
U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, speaks during a news conference, in New York, Wednesday, May 29. (Richard Drew / AP)

Attorney General William Barr — who’s Hurwitz’s de facto boss as the nation’s top law enforcement official — had signaled earlier in the day that the Justice Department was already all over the Epstein case.

“I was appalled — indeed the whole department was — and frankly angry, to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner. We are now learning of serious irregularities at this facility that are deeply concerning and demand a thorough investigation,” Barr said at a conference in New Orleans, affirming the Justice Department’s inspector general as well as the FBI are investigating Epstein’s death.

The AG did not get into details, but The New York Times reported later Monday that one of the two people who had guarded Epstein before his apparent suicide was not “a full-fledged correctional officer." Epstein also had reportedly not been checked on for several hours before his body was discovered.

The internet has erupted with conspiracy theories over Epstein’s death. The billionaire financier was well known to have connections to the rich and powerful around the world, and he’s been linked to people like President Trump and Bill Clinton.

The Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan is pictured on Monday.
The Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan is pictured on Monday. (Luiz C. Ribeiro/for New York Daily News)

No evidence has emerged that the death of Epstein is anything other than a suicide.

Having a bipartisan inquiry could alleviate some of the political rumor-mongering. Several of the questions posed by Nadler and Collins seemed designed to dispel claims that there could have been outside meddling.

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“If, as you have stated, Mr. Epstein died of an apparent suicide, what are the facts and circumstances that led you to make that determination, and please provide a copy of the report of the autopsy which was subsequently performed,” they wrote.

With Chris Sommerfeldt and Stephen Rex Brown