Rep. Steve Cohen on Tuesday said Attorney General Bill Barr and the Justice Department allowed to Jeffrey Epstein to ‘conveniently’ commit suicide when he was in jail last summer and was the highest profile inmate in the country.
Cohen, a Democrat, was tearing into Barr as part of a heated afternoon of hearings on Capitol Hill where the AG defended the federal government’s tough response to protests around the country over racism and police brutality.
Cohen was talking about the federal police in Portland – who have been clashing with determined protesters – and said they, like the guards who were meant to be watching Epstein when he killed himself in August last year, were poorly trained.
‘Maybe what happened was that your secret police were poorly trained, just like your Bureau of Prisons guards were poorly trained and allowed the most notorious inmate in our nation’s last several years, Jeffrey Epstein, to conveniently commit suicide. Sad!’ he fumed.
Barr did not respond.
In previous interviews, he described Epstein’s suicide as a ‘perfect storm of screw-ups’ and has insisted that Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s alleged madam who is currently in custody awaiting trial, will not be given the opportunity to take her own life.
‘I was livid obviously. I believed very strongly in that case and I was very proud of the work done by the department, the Southern District on that case, and as you recall, after he committed suicide, I said that I was confident that we would continue to pursue this case vigorously and continue to pursue anyone who was complicit in it.
‘I was very happy we were able to get Ms Maxwell,’ he said in an interview with ABC earlier this month.
Maxwell was arrested in New Hampshire earlier this summer after living under the radar for a year.
With Epstein dead, many of his victims have said that Maxwell being put behind bars is their only hope of justice.
On the night he killed himself, Epstein’s prison guards failed to check on him more than once.
Instead, they watched TV and napped.
Suspicion among conspiracy theorists ran rampant that he’d been killed by someone else or that he was deliberately afforded the opportunity to kill himself to stop him from potentially snitching on any of his high-profile friends to try to cut a deal with the government.
It has long been claimed that Epstein sexually trafficked underage girls around the world.
Some say he passed them off to his impressive network of powerful friends.
No one else other than Maxwell has been arrested in connection with the claims against him.
One of the accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, says she had sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17 in London in 2001.
Andrew has always denied the claims.