NEW YORK - FBI investigators probing the death of Jeffrey Epstein are looking into whether a "criminal enterprise" may have played a role, the Bureau of Prisons’ director revealed Tuesday during testimony on Capitol Hill.
Kathleen Hawk Sawyer made the admission during a line of questioning involving Sen. Lindsay Graham, in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“With a case this high profile, there has got to be either a major malfunction of the system or criminal enterprise at foot to allow this to happen. So are you looking at both, is the FBI looking at both?” the South Carolina Republican senator asked.
“The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” Hawk responded.
Jeffrey Epstein is pictured in an undated photo. (Photo credit: Provided / FBI)
New York City’s medical examiner ruled that the convicted sex offender took his own life inside his Manhattan federal prison cell on Aug. 10.
The hearing took place a couple of hours before it was announced two prison guards on duty during the night Epstein killed himself were charged with making false records and conspiring to make false records.
When Graham asked Sawyer how such a death like Epstein's could have happened, she said "the whole situation is still under the investigation of the FBI and the Inspector General’s office and I’m really not at liberty to discuss specifics of this case.
"I can discuss issues around institutional operations but I can’t specifically talk about that particular issue," she noted.
Sawyer then explained how Epstein was on suicide watch prior to his death and how the Bureau of Prisons has "different tiers of response if we identify an inmate who appears to have suicidal thinking."
“They move into psychological observation," she later said. "Psychologists see them routinely, interview them repeatedly and once it’s determined that the threat of suicide seems to have passed, then that inmate can be returned back to open population.”
Graham didn't seem pleased with her response.
“Well clearly it didn’t work here so we await the report because all the victims of Mr. Epstein have to have their heart ripped out as they will never see justice," he said.