Jail officials let Jeffrey Epstein make an unmonitored call on the night he died by suicide, federal investigators say.
Epstein told them he was calling his mother, but she had been dead for years.
According to media reports, Epstein actually called his girlfriend.
Hours before convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein died by suicide in a notorious New York City jail cell, staffers allowed him to make an unmonitored phone call to his "mother" — but his mom had already been dead at that point for 15 years.
Specifics surrounding Epstein's August 9, 2019 evening phone call were detailed in a lengthy report released on Tuesday by a Justice Department watchdog.
The scathing report from the Office of the Inspector General says that a unit manager at Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center let Epstein make the phone call after he asked to call his mother, who actually died in 2004.
The staffer told investigators that he put Epstein in the shower area to make the call "because that location ensured Epstein would not be able to pull the phone cord into his cell and use it to harm himself."
The call violated prison policy, investigators said.
The OIG investigation found that Epstein, in fact, spoke to someone identified only in the report as "Individual 1."
That person declined to be interviewed by the feds, but the person's lawyer told the US Attorney's Office that during the call "Epstein told Individual 1 that the press had gotten crazy, and they discussed personal things such as books, music, and hygiene while incarcerated."
According to media reports, Epstein called his girlfriend, Karyna Shuliak.
Investigators later spoke with a Northeast Regional Director, who said the call should have been made on speakerphone with a jail staff member listening in.
The director, who isn't named, said the secret phone conversation was extremely concerning, according to investigators.
"[W]e don't know what happened on that phone call," the director told investigators. "It could have potentially led to [Epstein's death], but we don't — we will never know."
Epstein died by suicide on August 10, 2019, while he was awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.
The OIG report provides new details surrounding Epstein's last days, namely the negligence that permeated Manhattan's Metropolitan Correctional Center prior to his death.
Investigators said that the financier had made a prior suicide attempt weeks before his death, but that inadequate measures were taken by jail officials to monitor and prevent his eventual suicide.
The report found no evidence of foul play surrounding Epstein's death, and noted that most security cameras in his unit were not recording as they were due for an upgrade. Workers and inmates housed across from Epstein's cell shared testimony with investigators, who found that one worker clocked in for 24 hours around the time of Epstein's death, amid staffing shortages in the facility.
Other guards botched their logs and overlooked that Epstein had secured surplus linen in his cell on the night of August 9, 2019, the report added.
The financier was not assigned a new roommate on the night before his death, when he ultimately killed himself using the extra bed sheets, according to the report.
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