‘Heads must roll’: After Epstein found dead, lawmakers want answers, justice for alleged victims

“Today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said.

By Jane C. Timm and Liz Johnstone

Lawmakers demanded answers Saturday after wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead by apparent suicide, with a number calling for an immediate investigation and justice for his alleged victims.

“The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal,” Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb. wrote in a fiery letter to Attorney General William Barr Saturday.

In the letter, a furious-sounding Sasse blasted the Justice Department for the circumstances that allowed Epstein to die by apparent suicide at a federal prison in Manhattan just a little over two weeks after he was found injured and in a fetal position in his cell. He was semiconscious with marks on his neck at the time.

Questions raised after Epstein dies after being taken off suicide watch

AUG. 10, 201903:24

He was not on suicide watch at the time of his death, multiple people familiar with the investigation told NBC News.

“Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him,” Sasse wrote. “Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance. Obviously, heads must roll.”

Epstein’s death comes a day after a trove of court documents were unsealed providing new details about Epstein’s alleged crimes. Epstein was arrested July 6 in Teterboro, New Jersey and was charged with one count of sex trafficking conspiracy and one count of sex trafficking.

Unanswered questions — like how an inmate previously reported to have been on suicide watch was able to kill himself in federal custody — and concern for his alleged victims, united lawmakers on both the left and right Saturday.

Asked about Epstein during a campaign stop at the Iowa State Fair Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said, “The system broke down here.”

“He should have been held for trial, and his victim should have had a chance to testify against him. There should have been a public airing of what happened, who helped him, who was involved in it and now all of that’s been cut off,” the 2020 Democratic hopeful told reporters.

“We need answers. Lots of them,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted.


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