Dead men tell no tales, but apparently neither do staff at Metropolitan Correctional Center.
Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed as many as 20 staff members at the jail where billionaire Jeffrey Epstein killed himself, according to the Associated Press. A move coming amid mounting evidence that jail guards failed to keep watch on Epstein as he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are both investigating the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
Citing a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the AP said the subpoenas may be an indication authorities plan to pursue criminal charges against employees at the facility where Epstein hung himself.
CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti said on Twitter that the subpoenas indicate “that prosecutors believe their testimony is relevant to a federal criminal investigation.”
He added, “At this stage, they are likely investigating to determine if any corruption was involved.”
1/ The issuance of grand jury subpoenas to officers at the prison where Epstein was held indicates that prosecutors believe their testimony is relevant to a federal criminal investigation.
At this stage, they are likely investigating to determine if any corruption was involved. https://t.co/RIdwOvqBo1
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 22, 2019
Mariotti tweeted that the subpoenas don’t necessarily mean they have established any wrongdoing by prison staff, but “suggests that they haven’t ruled it out.”
He also tweeted, “And mere negligence by prison officers would not be sufficient to establish a criminal charge. They’re looking for more than that.”
3/ So these subpoenas weren’t issued merely to get background for a public report. Grand jury testimony can’t be disclosed to the public.
And mere negligence by prison officers would not be sufficient to establish a criminal charge. They’re looking for more than that. /end
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) August 22, 2019
What seems to be more clear is that MCC staff aren’t volunteering much information.
“FBI/DOJ very clearly being compelled to use subpoenas for information because employees of the jail have not been cooperative in the investigation,” CNN crime and justice reporter Shimon Prokupecz tweeted.
FBI/DOJ very clearly being compelled to use subpoenas for information because employees of the jail have not been cooperative in the investigation.
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) August 22, 2019
According to Attorney General William Barr, “serious irregularities” were found at the jail by investigators.
In addition to reporting that Barr said the FBI’s investigation has been slowed because some witnesses have been uncooperative, the AP noted that a DOJ official said guards believed to have information pertinent to the investigation, were not cooperating.
More on the ramifications of Epstein’s shocking death from the news agency:
Epstein’s ability to take his own life while incarcerated at one of the most secure jails in America ended the possibility of a trial that would have involved prominent figures and sparked widespread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the allegations.He had pleaded not guilty and was preparing to make the argument that he could not be charged because of a 2008 deal he made to avoid federal prosecution on similar allegations. The Justice Department has vowed to continue aggressively investigating and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein.
And while the investigations continue, they are not limited to the United States.
When Epstein was arrested, he was returning to the U.S. from Paris and the Daily Mail reported on Friday that France has opened a preliminary probe to see if he committed any sex crimes on French territory or against any under-age French victims.
Epstein had a residence on Avenue Foch, one of the most exclusive addresses in Paris, near the Arc de Triomphe.
The child sex abuse advocacy group Innocence En Danger reportedly has received 10 witness statements regarding alleged crimes that had taken place on French soil that involved Epstein, according to the Daily Mail.
Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said in a statement, “The investigations… will focus on potential crimes committed against French victims on national territory as well as abroad, and on suspects who are French citizens.”
The probe will reportedly also look at suspects who aren’t French citizens, with the potential charges including rape and sexual aggression to victims aged at least 15.
A photo of Epstein and his accused accomplice ex-girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, came to light this week, taken by the billionaire’s “underage sex slave” Virginia Robert — the couple are seen in the two-decade-old photo strolling through Paris.
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