NEW YORK -- Attorney General William Barr promised answers Monday in the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein in his federal lockup cell as new investigations continued into the sex-abuse claims against him.
"We will get to the bottom of what happened," Barr added. "There will be accountability."
He also said Epstein's suicide would not halt the investigation into other people who might have helped him traffic teenage girls for sex. On Monday, FBI agents and New York detectives raided Epstein's private, 70-acre island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, looking for documents, photographs, videos, computers and other materials, people briefed on the matter said.
"Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy," Barr said. "The victims deserve justice and they will get it."
If any Epstein assistants hoped to avoid charges by testifying against him, that expectation has been upended by his suicide.
"Those who had leverage as potential cooperators in the case now find themselves as the primary targets," said Jacob Frenkel, a former federal prosecutor. "They no longer have anyone against whom to cooperate."
Lawmakers also sought answers from federal officials. The Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday addressed a letter to Bureau of Prisons Director Hugh Hurwitz demanding answers to numerous questions about Epstein's time in federal detention, and asserted that Epstein's death "demonstrates severe miscarriages of or deficiencies in inmate protocol and has allowed the deceased to ultimately evade facing justice."
The Bureau of Prisons declined to comment Monday.
New York City Chief Medical Examiner Barbara Sampson made no further statements Monday after saying that Epstein's autopsy was complete but that she had not reached a determination on the cause of death, "pending further information." The medical examiner allowed Michael Baden, a private pathologist, to observe the autopsy at the request of Epstein's representatives, Sampson said.
Barr did not offer additional information about the problems at the Metropolitan Correctional Center after questions were raised about why Epstein had been taken off suicide watch just days after apparently trying to kill himself on July 23 and then was left alone in a cell without close supervision.
In addition, one of the two people guarding Epstein was not a full-fledged correctional officer, prison and law-enforcement officials said.
A New York Times investigation published last year detailed this practice, under which federal prisons are so strapped for correctional officers that they regularly compel teachers, nurses, secretaries and other support staff members to step in. The practice has grown at some prisons as President Donald Trump's administration has curtailed the hiring of correctional officers.
Many of these staff members receive only a few weeks' training in correctional work, and, while required by contract to serve as substitutes, are often uncomfortable in the roles. Even workers who previously held correctional positions have said the practice was unsettling because fewer colleagues were on hand to provide backup.
No correctional officer had checked on Epstein for several hours before he was found, even though guards were supposed to look in on prisoners in the protective unit where he was housed every half-hour, two law-enforcement officials with knowledge of the detention have said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
Information for this article was contributed by Matt Zapotosky, Devlin Barrett and Rachel Weiner of The Washington Post; by Jim Mustian and Michael R. Sisak of The Associated Press; and by Ali Watkins, Katie Benner and Danielle Ivory of The New York Times.
A Section on 08/13/2019
Print Headline: Barr warns any Epstein co-conspirators