Sunday, August 11, 2019

UPDATED: Brief Epstein Update

My default assumption is that Jeffery Epstein committed suicide. However, in the circumstances, anyone who failed to investigate all possibilities would be a complete fool. I like to think I'm not.

What are those possibilities? Obviously foul play is one. The other, however, might encouraged suicide. Government incompetence could play into either one of those scenarios.

Significantly, Undercover Huber is reporting:

Undercover Huber‏
Reuters has a source telling them Epstein was still on suicide watch as recently as Thursday and procedures to check on Epstein every 30 minutes were not followed overnight  
12:23 PM - 10 Aug 2019

We're also told that video surveillance wasn't operational at the relevant time. However I find the report that Epstein was removed from suicide watch to be important.

The Reuters report--if UC Huber is correct--is contradicted by the NYT, but only as to the timing of Epstein's removal from the suicide watch. The NYT puts the removal at just six days after Epstein's reported suicide attempt on July 29th--although the claim that the previous incident was an actual suicide attempt is disputed. The Daily Mail reports that Epstein told guards weeks before he hanged himself that someone tried to KILL HIM.

One way or another, Epstein was removed from the suicide watch very shortly after being placed on it. That doesn't just happen. According to the NYT:

Inmates can only be removed from the watch when the program coordinator, who is generally the chief psychologist at the facility, deems they are no longer at imminent risk for suicide, according a 2007 Bureau of Prison document outlining suicide prevention policies. The inmates cannot be removed from the watch without a face-to-face psychological evaluation.
To take an inmate off suicide watch, a “post-watch report” needs to be completed, which includes an analysis of how the inmate’s circumstances have changed and why that merits removal from the watch, the document said.

That amounts to proving a negative. It would seem far easier and uncontroversial to simply leave an inmate like Epstein--the most notorious prisoner in the country, widely reported to be at risk of either suicide or murder--on the suicide watch. There would be no downside to doing so. Therefore the normal rules of bureaucratic conduct would seem to dictate not removing Epsteing from the watch list--especially when you have to put the reasons for doing so in writing and sign off on it.

And one last consideration. While I have argued in the past that Epstein's prior plea deal should not preclude the current prosecution, that doesn't mean that it was an open and shut case. There was a very real possibility that the current case would be dismissed and Epstein would be released. Why commit suicide when you have a real chance of going free? It wasn't as if Epstein wouldn't have been able to stand being publicly shamed. So that doesn't add up, either.

All in all, Bill Barr is right to be appalled and livid. Will Chamberlain summarizes the situation in neutral terms, which makes it all the more damning:

Usually, Occam’s razor suggests that the “conspiratorial” explanation for a shocking event is the less likely one. Not so here. Assembling an innocent explanation of Epstein’s death requires assuming a staggering amount of incompetence on the part of MCC Manhattan staff. Despite a near-miss on July 30, they would have had to innocently give their most infamous and high-profile criminal defendant the means and opportunity to kill himself, and in doing so, utterly fail at their most basic responsibilities.

Barr is right to order an FBI investigation. Oh, and he's also right to order an OIG investigation as well. Just in case.

UPDATE: Blogger Ann Althouse notes the MSM effort--especially the NYT--to tamp down all "conspiracy theory." With continuing revelations of high level Russia Hoax conspiracies--even on an international level--that gets ever more difficult to do. Kinda like pushing on a string at this point:

Are the conspiracy theories "unfounded"? I've noticed that the NYT seems to be trying to squelch any doubt that Epstein killed himself (and killed himself without any support/encouragement from anyone else). There are no comments allowed on this new article, and I noticed that an earlier NYT article about the Epstein death had a lot of comments, and the highly rated ones doubted that it was suicide. 
Compare The Washington Post, where the top headline on the home page is: "Questions mount over Epstein’s apparent suicide." The NYT doesn't have "apparent" before suicide and doesn't use a generic, conspiracy-supporting phrase like "Questions mount." The NYT directs us to think that the questions should be about prison procedures and overworked prison staff.

UPDATE 2: I'm seeing reporting that there's no video of Epstein's cell at the time of his death. Also:

Tom Fitton
"when the decision was made to remove Mr. Epstein from suicide watch, the jail informed the Justice Department that Mr. Epstein would have a cellmate and that a guard 'would look into his cell' every 30 minutes. But that was apparently not done.."

9:11 AM - 11 Aug 2019

IOW, DoJ was staying on top of the situation but was lied to.

UPDATE 3: Exactly:

Will Chamberlain

All jokes aside, the theory that the Clintons had Jeffrey Epstein killed is far more plausible than the theory that our billionaire real estate magnate-turned-President is actually a Russian agent.
And the media ran with the latter theory for two years.
6:22 AM - 11 Aug 2019


  1. Start with "who benefits."

    All of the powerful and famous people that could have been exposed and implicated in the nefarious activities for which Epstein was infamous.

    The cabal that funded Epstein's activities and benefited from the blackmail evidence that he procured.

    The objects of blackmail who held public office or sovereign executive positions, and caved to the demands made of them.

    The state actors and agencies that occasionally participated in and benefited from these blackmail schemes.

    The players described above number in the hundreds and represent some of the most powerful and influential people on the planet. This is not a job that Barr can take on solely with DOJ resources (which now includes a wounded and compromised FBI). A proper investigation would take months, if not years, and nicely puts any tangible legal action well past the 2020 election. This has now incentivized taking out Trump by any means necessary.

    A different paradigm is needed. The game board is teetering at the edge of the table.

    1. I disagree with your claim that legal action on the Russia Hoax coup plot requires that Barr first get to the bottom of the Epstein blackmail ring.

    2. So the criminal case just evaporates. Nothing to see here, move along. No doubt every shred of physical and electronic evidence will be consumed by an unfortunate, and wholly coincidental fire, (TBA) and the ashes accidentally dumped in the Marianas Trench.
      How very Clintonian. I think I'll copywrite that term as meaning: "A series of events, usually involving the death the principle, so unlikely as to render themselves unusable within a literary framework due to the necessity of heavy reliance on psycho-therapeutic pharmaceuticals to allow the suspension of disbelief". Sort of like Dickinsesque but different.
      It will be interesting to see who associated with the MCC (prisoner or staff) "suicides" over the next couple of months.
      Tom S.

    3. It would be interesting to find out how many others who were placed on suicide watch eventually committed suicide while in MCC custody. Wanna bet it doesn't happen often?

    4. I read earlier--and I can't find it now--that there had only been one previous suicide at the MCC.

    5. I think it was a mob guy named Louis Turra, in 1980.

  2. I appreciate your analysis of the issue and theory regarding a situation that encouraged suicide. I am not typically conspiracy-minded. I like to keep an open mind and see where the evidence leads. If he did commit suicide, it seems to me to be dereliction of duty.

    I agree with the Unknown's comment of "who benefits?" Was he threatened with what would happen to him if he were ever set free? I don't know if he has family (it seems I read he has a brother) but maybe his family was threatened.

    Whatever the cause, it's disheartening and appalling that this can happen right under our nose. The corruption runs deep.

    1. It does seem reasonable to believe that Occam's razor cuts against the innocent explanation in this case.

  3. My comment does not suggest that Barr must drop work on the SpyGate/RussiaGate investigation pending a resolution of the Epstein investigation. Rather, it suggests that he is getting in over his head by treating all of these recent events as purely a legal matter to resolved in a judicial proceeding. Here is a tangible suggestion for what he should do, sooner rather than later.

    Fire Wray immediately. Replace him with the equivalent of a Norman Schwartzkopf from the ranks of current or former FBI agents. The FBI is still a very powerful tool in the right hands. In warfare, sometimes you have to find the right general in order to seize the initiative.

    1. What you're saying doesn't make sense to me.

      "getting in over his head by treating all of these recent events as purely a legal matter to resolved in a judicial proceeding."

      Aside from the fact that I don't even know what you mean by "getting in over his head" ...

      In both the Russia Hoax and the Epstein death he has FBI investigators--lots of them--at work, as well as professional OIG investigators. OIG staff is easily as large and capable as a major FBI Field Division. How is that "treating all of these recent events as purely a legal matter to resolved in a judicial proceeding?"

      "Fire Wray immediately."

      I'm fine with that, just on general principle.

      Having worked in FBINY in the past, I can tell you that the NY office is a virtual Bureau unto itself and has highly developed forensic resources and capabilities to draw on. They are fully capable of doing the investigation

  4. This is interesting. Barr visited the facility after Epstein's first "suicide" attempt?

    “There are cameras going 24/7 and they’re watching 24/7. Someone had to give [Epstein] the equipment to kill himself and he had to pay for it dearly,” said Kasman, who has kept abreast of conditions in the lockup.

    Kasman added: “That facility for years had issues of corruption, with correction officers bringing in food or cellphones for wealthy people.”

    The former Gambino bean counter noted that Gotti, who did time both in the jail’s 9 South and 10 South units, its most secure wings, still managed to get his favorite steak dinner sneaked in: “He had Peter Luger’s whenever he wanted.”

    Kasman said he heard US Attorney General William Barr personally made a hush-hush trip to the MCC two weeks ago, about the time Epstein was found in his cell with bruises around his neck.

    “When does that happen?” he asked. “The attorney general never visits jails. Something’s not right there.”

    1. Wow! No wonder he was reported to be "livid." Do you think he maybe told them--no accidents? So no wonder both FBI and OIG. Tx

    2. “When does that happen?” he asked. “The attorney general never visits jails. Something’s not right there.”

      I guess that means Barr isn't "treating all of these recent events as purely a legal matter to resolved in a judicial proceeding."

  5. Remember that great line in Animal House, when Bluto tells Flounder, after they destroyed his brother Fred's car,"You f***ed up. You trusted us"? I know things are easier said than done and all that, but my first thought when hearing about Epstein's death was, "OMG - you mean Trump and DOJ TRUSTED the system to keep Epstein safe? Even after the near miss of a week prior? They didn't put their own people in to ensure Epstein's protection?"

    Sorry, I don't want to hear from anyone how I'm just being simple and real life is more complicated and all that. If a President and an AG decide someone in the federal system must be protected, and it's mission critical, they have every bit of power to make that happen.

    I'm totally cool with accepting the possibility that for one reason or another it actually wasn't mission critical to POTUS/AG and maybe even shouldn't have been. That doesn't smell right, but at least we won't be talking about a case of incompetence then. But if keeping Epstein alive was really important to them, and they just trusted the System to make it so ... well, I really hope this isn't the case.

    1. Well, I accidentally hit the Publish button instead of the Preview button and let that comment go before its time. Just want to make sure it's clear the part about "I don't want to hear from anyone..." is directed at generic idiots I read and hear all too regularly out there in pundit land -- NOT at anyone on this site. The people on this site are awesome and I would never direct any sort of disrespect at them. Ever.

      And I'm also not saying POTUS or AG Barr is incompetent. I'm just saying I'll feel a lot better if whatever happened was something other than their trusting in the system to keep Epstein safe. Hopefully time will sort all this out, and hopefully the countless pervs who availed themselves of Epstein's unholy offerings can still be exposed eventually, somehow.

      My apologies for the errant trackpad finger ;^>

  6. @Brad

    Just for the record it was Otter, not Bluto, who said "You fucked up. You trusted us!" in Animal House.

    Still, a great line in a great movie.

  7. Shoot! I may never show my face in public again (I take my Animal House street cred seriously lol). You're so right. Appreciate the correction ;^>

    PS: Then Bluto of course smashed the beer can on his forehead and made those goofy faces. Classic.

  8. I hope we don't hear next that Tommy Robinson has committed suicide. All prisoners, but especially high-profile ones, need to be protected.

    1. The only protection in those places is obtained from fellow inmates. But with his reputation, Epstein would find protection hard to come by. Removing him from suicide-watch was a death sentence.

    2. Not so sure about that. One of the protocols for suicide watch is to have another inmate in the same cell. When they took him off the watch, they also left him alone. Made whatever happened easier.