Epstein prison warden quietly retires amid federal investigation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The warden who ran the federal prison where disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein killed himself was allowed to quietly retire from the Bureau of Prisons in February. His retirement came amid an investigation examining how one of the government’s most high-profile inmates could kill himself in custody.

Lamine N’Diaye retired from the Bureau of Prisons on Feb. 26, agency spokeswoman Kristie Breshears told The Associated Press on Tuesday. He was most recently warden of FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in Burlington County, New Jersey.

He had been placed in this position despite the ongoing federal investigation and in direct contradiction to a public statement by the Bureau of Prisons that it would delay the transfer of N’Diaye to lead any prison until the investigation by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice is completed.

FCI Fort Dix, located on the grounds of Joint Army Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is the largest federal prison by population, with just under 3,000 inmates. An adjacent prison camp has 231 minimum-security inmates.

Under N’Diaye’s watch as warden, an inmate at Fort Dix was stabbed in the eyeball by a fellow inmate, illustrating the horrific chronic violence that plagues the Bureau of Prisons and soon added to calls from congressional lawmakers. for Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal to resign from his post. Carvajal announced in January that he was stepping down but remained in place while the Justice Ministry searches for a replacement.

A handful of detainees – some of whom are believed to be friends and associates of the alleged attacker – have been held in separate accommodation for more than four months and some have been threatened with transfer if they do not cooperate with the investigation into the knife attack. , two people familiar with the matter told the AP. The people were unable to discuss the issue publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

N’Diaye was previously director of the Metropolitan Correctional Center, the now closed federal prison in Manhattan. He was removed from his post after Epstein killed himself in prison in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

Prosecutors say the guards who were supposed to watch Epstein were sleeping and browsing the internet. The Bureau of Prisons closed the jail in October for much-needed repairs after years of disrepair, though it may never reopen.

The Bureau of Prisons named N’Diaye director of Fort Dix in February 2021 despite an ongoing federal investigation into the failings that led to Epstein’s death and contradicting his statement that the agency would delay any decision until at the end of the investigation.

The office attempted to place N’Diaye in the Fort Dix position a year earlier, but the move was halted by then-Attorney General William Barr after the AP reported the transfer.

The Department of Justice’s inspector general has yet to complete the investigation. A spokesman for Inspector General Michael Horowitz said on Tuesday the investigation was still ongoing.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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