Two faulty cameras affixed outside the Manhattan jail cell where Jeffrey Epstein died by apparent suicide have been sent to an FBI crime lab in Virginia to be analyzed, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing a law enforcement source.
The Washington Post had reported earlier that at least one camera within view of Epstein’s cell in the Metropolitan Correctional Center had footage that was found to be “unusable.” The paper said Monday it wasn’t clear why the recording was too flawed for investigators to use — but noted that footage from security cameras inside the jail were “considered critical” to the federal probes into Epstein’s Aug. 10 death.
News of the allegedly malfunctioning cameras and unusable footage comes on the heels of several reports of failures and irregularities inside the federal lockup where Epstein was held.
The guards assigned to watch over Epstein allegedly did not check on the prisoner for hours on the night he died ― flouting a rule that requires guards to check on inmates every 30 minutes. The guards, who were both working overtime at the understaffed facility, have also been accused of falling asleep for at least part of that time and falsifying jail logs to cover their tracks.
The FBI and the Justice Department inspector general have launched investigations into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death ― including why the accused sex trafficker was taken off suicide watch less than a week after he was allegedly found with injuries consistent with a suicide attempt on July 23 and subsequently left alone in his cell.
New York’s chief medical examiner, Barbara Sampson, ruled Epstein’s death a suicide earlier this month. But his lawyers told a Manhattan federal judge at a Tuesday hearing they were skeptical the financier had killed himself.
At the hearing on Tuesday, nearly two dozen of Epstein’s alleged victims spoke or had statements read on their behalf.
“The fact I will never have a chance to face my predator in court eats away at my soul,” Jennifer Araoz, who says Epstein raped her when she was 15, told the court, The New York Times reported. “They let this man kill himself and kill the chance of justice for so many others in the process, taking away our ability to speak.”