The two Federal Bureau of Prisons employees on duty when disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself in a Manhattan prison while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges were arrested Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The two jail workers are expected to face federal charges relating to their failure to perform required checks on Epstein shortly before he killed himself in August. Epstein was housed in a high-security ward of the prison at the time, requiring monitoring every 30 minutes. The two workers responsible for checking on Epstein’s cell every half-hour fell asleep for several hours and then falsified logs to cover up the lapse.
Federal prosecutors reportedly offered a plea deal to the workers, which would have required them to admit to fabricating the logs, but the employees rejected the deal. The charges come after Attorney General William Barr said that “serious irregularities” took place at the jail and pledged to investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. “The Justice Department has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein,” the Associated Press reported. “Federal prosecutors investigating the financier’s death subpoenaed up to 20 staff members at the jail in August.”
Both employees were working overtime at the time of Epstein’s death, a common occurrence for an agency facing staff shortages that force guards to work repeated overtime and push other prison employees into filling in as correctional officers. A review conducted by the newly appointed head of the Bureau of Prisons found that the falsification of logs is a recurring problem by employees across the agency.