Thursday, 19 September, 2019

USA prisons chief removed after cell death of sex accused Jeffrey Epstein

Inquiry into Epstein's death, time in prison continues Bureau of Prisons chief removed in wake of Jeffrey Epstein suicide
Patty Aguilar | 20 August, 2019, 01:41

U.S. attorney general Bill Barr announced the replacement of the head of federal prisons Monday in the wake of the shock jail-cell suicide of Jeffrey Epstein as he faced child sex trafficking charges. The attorney general also appointed Dr. Thomas R. Kane, who has served under four attorney generals, as the bureau's deputy director.

Attorney General William Barr confirmed Monday the appointment of a new director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons after the death of billionaire Jeffrey Epstein inside his New York City jail cell. During his first time serving as Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush, Barr appointed Dr. Sawyer to the position, where she served until her retirement in 2003.

Hugh Hurwitz's reassignment comes amid mounting evidence that guards at the chronically understaffed Metropolitan Correctional Centre in NY abdicated their responsibility to keep 66-year-old Epstein from killing himself while he awaited trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.

It is unclear if the leadership change is part of a broader shakeup by the Justice Department to handle the fallout of the Epstein's death. The FBI and the Office of Inspector General are conducting investigations over his death.

His lawyers had said in a statement last week that they were "not satisfied" with the medical examiner's conclusions and planned to carry out their own investigation, seeking prison videos taken around the time of his death.

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While speaking at an event in New Orleans on August 12, Barr said that there were "serious irregularities" at the facility that was "deeply concerning".

He ordered the bureau last Tuesday to temporarily reassign the warden, Lamine N'Diaye, to a regional office and the two guards who were supposed to be watching Epstein were placed on administrative leave. Hurwitz was previously Assistant Director of the Bureau of Prisons Reentry Services Division. Ben Sasse said in a statement that the personnel moves were not enough.

The Bureau of Prisons has about 37,000 employees and oversees 122 facilities, which house about 180,000 inmates.

"Because Jeffrey Epstein, the defendant, died while this case was pending, and therefore before a final judgment was issued, the Indictment must be dismissed under the rule of abatement", the prosecutors wrote, citing the 1998 court decision in United States v. Wright. Hawk Sawyer served as director for more than 10 years starting in 1992, and Kane has served as acting director. "Attorney General Barr did the right thing by removing the head of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and he ought to make every effort to prosecute every one of Epstein's co-conspirators to the fullest extent of the law". "The victims deserve justice, and they will get it".

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