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FBI investigating possible ‘criminal enterprise’ in Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse death

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The director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that the FBI was investigating whether Jeffrey Epstein’s death was related to a criminal enterprise.

Two correctional officers, Tova Noel and Michael Thomas, were arrested and charged Tuesday with falsifying prison records to cover up their lapses in their official duties, which included checking on Epstein every half hour, reported the Miami Herald.

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The officers instead remained at their desk, browsing the internet and moving around the common area.

Epstein was found hanged Aug. 10 in his cell, shortly after he was taken off suicide watch while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges.

The charges were unsealed on the same day the Senate Judiciary Committee held an oversight hearing on the federal Bureau of Prisons with testimony from top administrator Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, and Epstein’s death came up.

“With a case this high profile, there has got to be either a major malfunction of the system or a criminal enterprise afoot to allow this to happen,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “So are you looking at both? Is the FBI looking at both?”

“The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” Sawyer replied.

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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) later provided a possible theory for Epstein’s death.

“What happened to Jeffrey Epstein is an enormous black eye for the BOP,” Cruz said, “and yet he died in federal custody. He died in federal custody before he had a chance to testify about his crimes, about his wrongdoings, and about the other powerful men who were complicit in that sexual abuse.”

“There were powerful men who wanted Jeffrey Epstein silenced,” he added.

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The 66-year-old financier was friends with Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as other rich and powerful celebrities.

Cruz laid out “two possibilities” for Epstein’s death — “gross negligence and total failure” by BOP, or “something far worse … that it was not suicide but rather a homicide carried out by person or persons who wanted Epstein silenced.”

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Sawyer, however, said there was no evidence of foul play.

“There’s no indication, from anything I know, that it as anything other than a suicide,” she said.


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2020 Election

Trump and the GOP have become the party of the dead

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There are few morbid topics subject to greater speculation than the religious loyalty of President Donald Trump's "base." Why an alarmingly large amount of Americans refuse even to entertain any criticism of Trump deserves scrutiny from political scientists, psychologists and perhaps horror novelists working in the school of Edgar Allan Poe.

This article first appeared in Salon.

What is abundantly clear is that no matter who votes for Trump, he and the Republican Party on the national level have no interest in governing on the behalf of living human beings — with the exception of ensuring that a tiny minority of billionaires and multimillionaires enlarge their investment portfolios. Trump evinces no concern for Americans dying of the coronavirus, racist violence or any other malady or injustice. He demonstrates no regard for health care professionals courageously trying to save their patients from dying, and appears cruelly indifferent to the struggles of millions of workers whose livelihoods have been destroyed by COVID-19. Needless to say, Trump also shows contempt for Black Lives Matter, immigrants and anyone who opposes his re-election, which at this moment (and throughout his presidency) is more than half of the American public.

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As coronavirus seizes the state, Florida hospitals are in panic mode

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As Florida experiences a surge in coronavirus cases, the residents of the state are facing obstacles like overwhelmed hospitals and a looming shortage in beds.

This article first appeared in Salon.

There are 47,663 hospital beds in the state right now with 11,782 available (meaning a remaining capacity of 19.82 percent) and a total staffed bed capacity of 59,445, according to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Hospital Bed Capacity Dashboard. The state Department of Health also reported on Friday that, out of 95,300 individuals who received coronavirus test results over the course of the previous day, 11,433 tested positive for COVID-19 (all but 90 of whom were Florida residents), meaning that more than 12 percent of the new cases had positive test results. The state also reported 93 new deaths due to COVID-19. (Salon reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment on this story.)

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2020 Election

The GOP is a suicide cult

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Back in March, we argued that Donald Trump had become the charismatic leader of the dumbest suicide cult ever. There were fewer than 500 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, but it wasn't difficult to see the trajectory we were on at even that early date. At the time, we were commenting on the President's* repeated claims that the whole thing was a big hoax and polls showing that Democrats were twice as likely as Republicans to say they were taking steps to avoid becoming infected.

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