Two prison guards have been suspended and a warden temporarily reassigned at the New York City prison after Jeffrey Epstein died of suspected suicide.
The FBI opened an investigation into the death of Epstein, who was facing prosecution for sex trafficking when he was found dead.
The suspension, ordered by Attorney General William Barr, came a day after he criticised the jail’s “failure”. Epstein was taken off suicide watch after an attempted suicide last month. He also was supposed to have been checked in on by a guard every 30 minutes.
In a statement, Mr Barr “directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign” warden Lamine N’Diaye to a regional office, pending a full investigation.
He will be replaced by James Petrucci, the warden of the federal prison in Otisville, New York.
Two other staff members who were assigned to Epsteins’ unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) have also been placed on leave.
“Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant,” the statement added.
According to Washington Post, one of the guards on Jeffrey Epstein prison unit on Saturday – when he died – was not a regular correctional officer, but rather another form of prison employee who was directed to operate as a guard due to staffing shortages.
Both guards working on his unit were working overtime shifts, but it’s unclear whether they were doing so voluntarily.