MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Congress is investigating Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide, the Justice Department announces it has temporarily reassigned the New York prison warden and placed two guards on leave, and FBI agents and police have raided the private island in the U.S. Virgin Islands where Epstein had a massive estate.
CBS4 News obtained pictures of more than a dozen federal agents raiding the private estate on August 12, on Little St. James Island, sometimes referred to as “pedophile island” in the aftermath of Epstein’s initial prosecution in 2007-2008.
They were seen arriving by boat and then riding golf carts to the estate.
Monday’s raid came just two days after Epstein was found unresponsive in his jail cell while in federal custody in Manhattan. He was rushed to the hospital but was pronounced deceased.
Monday, Attorney General William Barr called for investigations by the FBI and Inspector General and warned that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”
Any evidence seized in the private island raid could prove key to prosecutors as they seek to press charges against Epstein’s associates.
CBS News has also learned that the morning of Jeffrey Epstein’s death there was shouting and shrieking from his jail cell. Guards attempted to revive him while saying “breathe, Epstein, breathe.”
WATCH THE ARRIVAL OF FBI AGENTS, POLICE TO EPSTEIN’S PRIVATE ISLAND
Tuesday afternoon, two guards assigned to watch Epstein the night he died have been placed on leave and the warden has been removed as federal authorities investigate the financier’s death, the Justice Department said Tuesday.
On Monday, Attorney General William Barr said that he was “frankly angry to learn of the MCC’s failure to adequately secure this prisoner.” He added: “We will get to the bottom of what happened and there will be accountability.”
CBS News has also learned that Epstein’s estranged brother Mark was called and he identified Epstein’s body seen here being removed from the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Medical Examiner’s office has performed an autopsy, but the results are still pending.
Pathologist Dr. Joe Cohen says it’s not unusual that the ME didn’t immediately release a cause of death. Cohen says it’s likely the ME is reviewing photographs, police reports and other documents to help confirm findings from the autopsy. He says it’s “pretty commonplace” to delay releasing the death certificate for weeks.
Epstein died Saturday in what prison officials said was an apparent suicide. The 66-year-old had been jailed awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges.
A former Florida corrections worker said Epstein was “treated like a celebrity” during his 13-month stint in a county jail after he pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of soliciting a minor for prostitution.
“Jeffrey Epstein was a high profile inmate and being that he was going to be housed in T dorm, his cell is to remain unlocked,” said Theresa Cook. She said he was allowed to move freely through the dorm area, had access to hot water for coffee and a television. She said he also made himself at home, sometimes walking around with no clothes.
“Sometimes he would come out of his cell and he would be naked,” she said. “He would just be naked.”
In a court filing Monday, Epstein’s accusers said that the agreement he negotiated with federal prosecutors in Florida over a decade ago to grant immunity to his possible accomplices should be thrown out now that he is dead. Under that 2008 agreement, Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution-related state charges and served 13 months behind bars.
At the time of his death, Epstein was being held without bail and faced up to 45 years in prison on federal sex trafficking and conspiracy charges unsealed last month.