Listening to him pour fire and brimstone on the rank-and-file who run the jail, you almost have to wonder: Has Barr taken a look at his org chart recently? Because the Metropolitan Correctional Center is part of the Bureau of Prisons, which is part of the Justice Department, which Barr runs.
He is responsible for all of it. This happened in Barr’s house. He doesn’t get to stand outside, wag his finger, roll the blame downhill and call it a day.
But ultimately Barr is the one who owes the American public — and most importantly, Epstein’s victims — answers to these questions:
What steps did Barr himself take (or could he have taken) to ensure the safety of Epstein, who was arguably among the highest profile and highest priority inmates in the entire Bureau of Prisons?
All of these questions should be entirely answerable, if Barr is truly committed to getting at the truth. During my eight years as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, I spent countless days inside the MCC, usually meeting in a private, secure room with inmates who had been charged and were seeking to cooperate.
I know firsthand: the MCC is a brutal, unforgiving place. It is hot, cramped, loud, and simply put, scary.
But rough as it is, the MCC is no wild west. It is one of the most tightly regulated and monitored buildings on the planet. The inside of the building is surprisingly small. Staff members and surveillance cameras are everywhere. Inmates are counted several times each day. Every opening of every door is controlled by remote lock, and only one door in any given area can be opened at a time. And the MCC is a bureaucratic monolith. Every visitor, every prisoner movement, every count, every item entering or exiting, is logged in some manner. The answers are all there.
Epstein is gone. His victims will never get the chance to confront him in open court. That is the fault of the Justice Department and Barr himself. Now it is Barr’s duty to deliver not only straight answers but also meaningful accountability.
Now, your questions
Phillip (Florida): Now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead, what is likely to happen to this case?
There is no way in our justice system to prosecute a person after his death. The criminal case against Epstein is over.
William (Texas): President Trump has called for stronger “red flag” laws, but didn’t he reverse an Obama-era executive order limiting gun sales to people with mental illness?
Mark (Massachusetts): ICE has raided multiple businesses recently and arrested many undocumented persons. Could the business owners be prosecuted for employing persons without permission to work in the United States?
Here’s a follow-up question I’d ask the self-proclaimed, record-breaking US Attorney: You went after the workers — now how about the bosses who profited off their labor?
This “roundup” feels to me like cheap political pandering and headline chasing. It is a sub-optimal use of limited Justice Department resources to round up hundreds of workers on non-violent crimes who pose no known danger to their communities. And if prosecutors truly wanted to address the scourge of employment of undocumented workers, they can and should go after the profiteers first.
Three more questions to watch:
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