The Washington Post reports that, according to three individuals briefed on the evidence collected so far, video footage from at least one camera in the hallway outside Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell is unusable. It is not known at this point why or how that footage is flawed.
The sources, who have requested anonymity, indicate that there is other clearer video imagery recorded in the area.
Video evidence would be key to the investigations that are being conducted into details surrounding the death of the convicted sex-offender financier who was found hanging in his cell on August 10.
The unusable video adds to the long list of failures ascribed to the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Manhattan where Epstein was being held.
Epstein had been arrested in early July and charged by federal authorities with the abuse of dozens of young girls in the early 2000s. He had largely escaped justice in a controversial, lenient 2008 plea deal on similar charges that were brought up against him. That plea deal had Epstein admitting to sexual relations with girls under the age of consent, some as young as 14.
Epstein was being held on the current charges without bail.
Separate probes by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office into Epstein’s death are underway. An autopsy ruled the death a suicide, although multiple broken bones in his neck were said by some experts to be more indicative of homicide than suicide.
The fact that Epstein was expected to spill the beans on several well-connected individuals who visited his properties, to include an estate known as “Orgy Island” in the Virgin Islands, has fueled conspiracy theories over his inexplicable death in federal custody.
Suspicious circumstances are many, and include an incident in Epstein’s cell in which he was found with bruises around his neck, resulting in his placement on suicide watch. Yet, he was quickly removed from that suicide prevention program and was left without a cellmate the night of his death, in violation of MCC policy.
Even more damning is the fact that the night of his death, two guards tasked with observing him every half hour completely failed in that duty, leaving him alone for a period of several hours.
MCC prison staff are reportedly not being cooperative in the investigations into Epstein’s death, adding to the mystery and doubt about what actually happened.
Prosecutors have made arrangements to drop charges against Epstein, but they are continuing to delve into those who might have been involved and conspired with him. A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday to consider the matter, as well as to provide an opportunity for some of Epstein’s victims to speak in court.
Although law enforcement officials have said they believe Epstein hanged himself, his attorneys and family express their skepticism about official investigations into his death.
The attorneys’ August 16 statement read: “The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death including if necessary legal action to view the pivotal videos — if they exist as they should — of the area proximate to Mr. Epstein’s cell during the time period leading to his death. We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner.”
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