FBI Investigating Possible ‘Criminal Enterprise’ Role In Jeffrey Epstein Death
FBI agents investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s death are looking at the possibility that a “criminal enterprise” played a role, according to the top U.S. prison administrator, Kathleen Hawk Sawyer.
The FBI defines a criminal enterprise as “a group of individuals with an identified hierarchy, or comparable structure, engaged in significant criminal activity.”
Also on Nov. 19, charges were unsealed against two correctional officers responsible for guarding Epstein, who was 66 when he died in his jail cell in August. The official cause of death was suicide.
The public is skeptical about the suicide verdict. A forensic pathologist and former New York City chief medical examiner, hired by Epstein’s brother, suggests that the convicted sex offender did not die by suicide but was murdered by strangulation.
The two corrections officers at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan were charged with falsifying prison records to make it look like they were doing their jobs.
According to the indictment, instead of checking on Epstein regularly, the officers “sat at their desk, browsed the internet, and moved around the common area of the SHU (Special Housing Unit).”
They “repeatedly signed false certifications attesting to having conducted multiple counts of inmates when, in truth and in fact, they never conducted such counts.”
Epstein was on suicide watch and awaiting trial on charges of trafficking underage teenage girls for sex.
Sawyer was taking questions when Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, asked about the FBI investigation.
“With a case this high profile, there has got to be either a major malfunction of the system or a criminal enterprise afoot to allow this to happen,” Graham said. “So are you looking at both? Is the FBI looking at both?”
“The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” Sawyer replied.
Epstein’s name has been linked to famous friends and acquaintances including President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Prince Andrew The Duke of York, New York Daily News former owner Mort Zuckerman, and actor-director Woody Allen.
“I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy,” Trump told New York Magazine in 2002. “He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”
Attorney General Bill Barr blamed the jail for failure to secure such a high-profile prisoner, threatening that “there will be accountability.”
Social media users are highly skeptical of the idea that blaming Epstein’s death on prison guards will make the problem go away — or that the Trump administration can be trusted to handle the investigation.
“There are huge outstanding questions about Jeffrey Epstein’s life and death. It’s very important that inquiry into them not be ceded to the far right,” one tweeted.
“The public skepticism is appropriate,” another tweeted. “We know so little of what happened that of course conspiracy theories will rush to fill the gaps. It’s also hard to point to a place in Epstein’s start-to-finish story in which anyone in authority distinguished themselves.”
“I personally wouldn’t trust anyone ‘centered’ in our political culture with a vigorous investigation into Epstein,” one person responded.
Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, criticized the Bureau of Prisons during the hearing.
“What happened to Jeffrey Epstein is an enormous black eye for the BOP,” Cruz said. “He died in federal custody before he had a chance to testify about his crimes, about his wrongdoings, and about the other powerful men who were complicit in that sexual abuse. … There were powerful men who wanted Jeffrey Epstein silenced.”
Cruz floated “two possibilities” for what happened to Epstein. Either “gross negligence and total failure of BOP to do its job,” or, he said, “something far worse … that it was not suicide but rather a homicide carried out by person or persons who wanted Epstein silenced.”