If Guards Falsified Jeffrey Epstein Prison Logs, They May Have Broken This Law

The guards charged with watching Jeffrey Epstein’s unit at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) are suspected of falsifying the log entries to make it look like they were checking on inmates every half hour when they were not actually doing so, according to a report from CBS News.

As previously reported by Law&Crime, the convicted abuser was apparently able to hang himself using a bed sheet early Saturday morning.  The disgraced millionaire was facing new criminal charges for allegedly abusing underage girls and was potentially looking at up to 45 years in prison.

A review of surveillance footage reportedly shows that the guards in Epstein’s unit, Nine South, never made their scheduled inmate checks, which were supposed to occur every 30 minutes, despite the prison logs showing that the checks were all completed.

A person familiar with MCC operations told the AP that the prison was chronically understaffed. On the day Epstein’s body was found, at least one of the guards in Nine South had been working a fifth straight day of overtime, the source said, while another was working mandatory overtime.

Additionally, the New York Times reported Tuesday that the two Nine South guards failed to check on Epstein because they had fallen asleep, then falsified the prison logs to prevent their superiors from finding out about their errors.  The two MCC employees were placed on administrative leave and the prison warden was temporarily reassigned while authorities from the Department of Justice complete their investigation into Epstein’s death.

If the guards did falsify prison logs to prevent investigators from learning of their mistake, they would likely be in violation of 18 USC § 1519, which states that  anyone who “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States…shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

Attorney General William Barr on Monday ordered the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate the circumstances around Epstein’s suicide, including why he was recently removed from suicide watch.

Note: This report was updated to show that CBS News first reported that Epstein’s guards may have doctored their records to show that they were checking on inmates. 

[Image of MCC via Dee Delgado/Getty Images.]

Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.

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