Federal prosecutors revealed yet another security lapse at the Manhattan jail where Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in August.
In a document filed to court Thursday, first reported by the New York Daily News and reviewed by Insider, prosecutors said they asked the Metropolitan Correctional Center for the surveillance footage recorded outside of Epstein’s cell from the night he first tried to commit suicide in July 2019.
But the jail, they said, accidentally preserved video footage from the wrong part of the building.
“The Government has learned that the MCC inadvertently preserved video from the wrong tier within the MCC, and, as a result, video from outside the defendant’s cell on July 22 – 23, 2019 (i.e. the requested video) no longer exists,” Assistant US Attorneys Maurene Comey and Jason Swergold wrote in the filing.
While the court filing states that there was a “backup system in place” to store the video they needed, it was nonetheless deleted sometime in August 2019 due to “technical errors.” Prosecutors first told the court in December that the footage had gone missing.
It’s yet another misstep in the Epstein case
Epstein, who was being held at the jail on charges of sex-trafficking minors, attempted suicide a second time on August 10, 2019, and was successful.
Two of the security guards who were supposed to regularly check on him overnight were later charged for failing to do their jobs. The indictment accuses them of leaving him alone for hours at a time and falsifying documents saying they had checked in on him. Both guards have denied wrongdoing.
The Washington Post initially reported that the video outside of Epstein’s cell on the night of his death was “unusable.” But in November, the Justice Department said in a court filing that security footage from outside Epstein’s cell block showed that no one entered or left the area on the night of his death, dispelling conspiracy theories about the disgraced financier’s death.
Attorney General William Barr admitted in November that his department has repeatedly bungled its handling of Epstein’s suicide, calling it “a perfect storm of screw-ups.” He said the FBI is still pursuing anyone who may have helped Epstein sexually abuse young girls, and has asked the Inspector General’s office to examine the case.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons, which oversees the Metropolitan Correctional Center, declined Business Insider’s request for comment, citing the Justice Department investigations.