FBI investigators are looking into a possible case of “criminal enterprise” in connection with well-connected paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s prison cell death.
The Federal Bureau of Prison’s (FBP) announcement came hours after the arrest of two guards tasked with watching over the shamed billionaire in jail.
The FBI defines criminal enterprise as “a group of individuals with an identified hierarchy, or comparable structure, engaged in significant criminal activity.”
News of the probe emerged when Dr Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, the head of the FBP, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about Epstein’s death on Tuesday.
Senator Lindsey Graham asked her: “With a case this high-profile, there’s got to be major malfunction in the system or a criminal enterprise afoot to allow this to happen. Is the FBI looking at both?’
The prisons boss then replied: “If the FBI is involved, then they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” adding she has no evidence to suggest Epstein was murdered.
However, she then admitted she is barred from speaking in detail about the actual specifics of the case.
A spokesman for the prison boss later clarified her statement saying she was “referring to looking into possible criminal conduct by staff.”
Meanwhile former New York City police commissioner Bernard Kerik said the indictment of the two guards should finally end the conspiracy theories surrounding Epstein’s death.
“The camera evidence defuses the conspiracy theories. At the beginning of each tour there is a bed check… Epstein was the only guy in the cell and he’s alive at 10:30 p.m. and there’s been nobody in the area.” he said last night.
Epstein was discovered dead in a cell of the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown New York City on the morning of August 10.
The shamed paedophile’s jail cell death occurred while guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas fell asleep and surfed the internet, a court has heard.
On Tuesday afternoon, they pleaded not guilty before US Magistrate Judge Sarah Netburn to charges they falsely certified to having conducted inmate counts during Epstein’s final hours, and to a conspiracy charge.
Prosecutors said Noel and Thomas, the only correctional officers on duty in Epstein’s unit, appeared to have fallen asleep for two hours during their shift.
Noel spent some of her waking hours surfing the internet for furniture sales and benefit websites, they said, while Thomas looked up websites for motorcycle sales and sports news.
The officers are suspected of failing to check on him every half-hour – as required – and then fabricating log entries to claim they had.
Prosecutors had offered the guards a plea bargain, but the Associated Press has revealed they declined the deal.
Autopsy images revealed broken bones in Epstein’s neck after his apparent hanging[/caption]
The defendants were the first to be criminally charged in connection with Epstein’s death, which embarrassed federal officials because the case had an unusually high profile.
Both jailhouse guards were working overtime because of staffing shortages when Epstein was found, it has been reported.
The officers have been on leave while the FBI and Justice Department investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s hanging.
The city’s medical examiner promptly ruled Epstein’s death a suicide, but that hasn’t stopped theories the sex fiend was murdered.
However New York City’s former chief medical examiner Dr Michael Baden believes he did not kill himself and was most likely strangled.
The respected expert now suspects foul play, even though the current chief medical examiner announced the death was a “suicide”.
“I think that the evidence points toward homicide rather than suicide,” Baden insisted on Fox News last month.
He was hired by Epstein’s family to observe his autopsy after the shamed financier was found hanged in his cell.
Former NYPD commissioner Bernard Kerik is confident Esptein took his own life[/caption]
The shamed tycoon’s body is loaded into a coroner’s van after his suicide[/caption]