WASHINGTON - U.S. Attorney General William Barr ordered the removal of the warden at the federal jail where financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges, the Justice Department said on Tuesday, after condemning “serious irregularities” at the facility.
The staff shakeup at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in lower Manhattan announced by the department included temporarily reassigning the warden to another post within the federal Bureau of Prisons, appointing a temporary replacement and placing two corrections officers assigned to Epstein’s unit on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations.
Epstein was found dead on Saturday morning, having apparently hanged himself in his cell.
The department’s announcement of the staff changes was made hours after President Donald Trump said he wanted a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death.
“Additional actions may be taken as the circumstances warrant,” Kerri Kupec, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Epstein, who once counted Trump and former President Bill Clinton as friends, was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14.
Kupec said James Petrucci, the warden at Federal Correctional Institution Otisville in New York, was named as acting MCC warden. The previous warden was reassigned to the bureau’s Northeast Regional Office, Kupec added. The corrections officers were not identified.
The department did not name the warden who was reassigned, but sources familiar with the matter identified him as Lamine N’Diaye, who formerly was in charge of the Bureau of Prisons office of internal affairs.
Barr, the top U.S. law enforcement official, on Monday vowed to carry on the Epstein investigation following the death of the wealthy and well-connected money manager. Barr said he was “appalled” at the jail’s “failure to adequately secure this prisoner.” Barr cited “serious irregularities at this facility,” but did not offer specifics.
The 66-year-old financier had been on suicide watch, but a source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was not on watch at the time of his death.
At the MCC, two jail guards are required to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed overnight, according to the source.
Trump earlier on Tuesday praised Barr’s handling of the matter, adding, “I want a full investigation, and that’s what I absolutely am demanding. That’s what our attorney general, our great attorney general is doing.”