A former inmate at the Metropolitan Correction Center, a federal prison in Manhattan, said Saturday that there is “no way” Jeffrey Epstein killed himself there.
The man explained his reasoning in an essay for the New York Post on condition of anonymity. The newspaper described him as an ex-convict who “spent several months in the 9 South special housing unit for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial — like Epstein.”
Prison guards found Epstein, who was 66, dead in his cell on Saturday morning. The convicted sex offender was being held without bond on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14 and sex trafficking conspiracy, to which he pleaded not guilty last month. Officials said Epstein apparently hanged himself, though his cause of death has not been confirmed.
However, the former inmate said that the conditions in theMetropolitan Correction Center’s protective housing unit, where Epstein was jailed, would have made suicide impossible.
“There’s no way that man could have killed himself,” he said. “I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.”
When it comes to hanging, the ceiling is too high, the ex-convict said, adding: “There’s no way for you to connect to anything.”
“There’s no light fixture,” he said. “There’s no bars.”
The man also ruled out other forms of self-inflicted death.
“They don’t give you enough in there that could successfully create an instrument of death. You want to write a letter, they give you rubber pens and maybe once a week a piece of paper,” he said. “Nothing hard or made of metal.”
Conspiracy theorists also doubt Jeffrey Epstein killed himself
The former inmate said that although he doubted Epstein would be given a cellmate — a detail The New York Times confirmed Sunday — there are up to 80 prisoners packed into the unit. He also said that prisoners on suicide watch are put in a straight jacket.
He said “it’s my firm belief that Jeffrey Epstein did not commit suicide. It just didn’t happen.”
According to the Times report, though, Epstein was inexplicably taken off suicide watch 11 days before his death, and just a couple weeks after he may have attempted to hang himself. A law enforcement official with knowledge of Epstein’s detention told the Times that two guards were supposed to have checked on the disgraced financier every 30 minutes, but that procedure was not followed on Friday night.
Epstein’s death has spurred outrage by critics who say the prison should have prevented it. The FBI said it was investigating, and Attorney General William Barr said that a special inquiry would be opened into what happened.
“I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody,” Barr said in a statement. “Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered.”
On both the political left and right, conspiracy theories about Epstein’s death have quickly proliferated, with many pointing to his former powerful friends. #ClintonBodyCount and #ClintonCrimeFamily were trending on Twitter Saturday along with a competing hashtag, TrumpBodyCount.