The FBI reportedly is examining two broken cameras that were outside the prison cell of financier and alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, whose death earlier this month was ruled a suicide.
Reuters reported that the two cameras have been sent to the FBI crime lab in Quantico, Virginia, according to a source.
At least one of the cameras had footage that was “unusable,” The Washington Post reported Monday, “based on three people briefed on the evidence.”
“The footage is considered critical to those inquiries, and the revelation of an unusable recording is yet another of the apparent failures inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center” in Manhattan, according to The Post.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 29, 2019
Days after Epstein was found dead in his cell Aug. 10, New York’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, ruled he had died of suicide by hanging.
The circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death — given his contact with several high-profile figures, including former President Bill Clinton — has fueled speculation that the 66-year-old did not take his own life.
In addition to the malfunction cameras, the prisoner reportedly was taken off suicide watch just days after he was found on his cell floor with a bruised neck July 23.
Additionally, Epstein’s cellmate was removed the day before he was found dead, and the guards watching him are said to have fallen asleep and thereby failed to conduct the inspections of prisoners required every 30 minutes.
“Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple,” The Post reported. “Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said.”
Epstein’s lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Martin Weinberg, told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan on Tuesday that they are “highly skeptical” their client killed himself, saying they did not see a “despairing or despondent, suicidal person,” according to CNBC.
Weingarten, citing medical experts, said the injuries suffered by Epstein are “far more consistent with assault than suicide.”
The lawyers requested a formal inquiry by the court into their client’s death.
Berman officially dismissed the pending criminal child sex trafficking case against Epstein on Thursday.
Weinberg responded in a statement to CNBC, saying, “We do not interpret today’s ruling as a determination that Judge Berman has rejected our requests that he exercise his inherent judicial authority to investigate both the cause of Mr. Epstein’s death or the horrific conditions in which the MCC held our client while he was pending trial.”
Attorney General William Barr said earlier this month that an initial investigation regarding the death Epstein has uncovered “serious irregularities” in how Metropolitan Correctional Center handled its responsibilities.
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