Warden at Epstein jail quietly retires amid federal probe

Warden at Manhattan jail where pedophile Jeffrey Epstein killed himself is allowed to quietly retire in the midst of federal probe

  • Lamine N’Diaye was allowed to retire from the Bureau of Prisons on Feb. 26
  • He ran the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan when Epstein died
  • The Department of Justice is still conducting an investigation into the suicide
  • Guards were allegedly sleeping and surfing the internet when he hung himself
  • The jail, plagued with maintenance issues, was closed for repairs in October
  • N’Diaye made $189K a year and was put in charge of a New Jersey prison in 2021

The warden who ran the federal jail where Jeffrey Epstein died has been allowed to quietly retire as the Justice Department continues to investigate how the high-profile inmate could have killed himself in custody.  

Lamine N’Diaye – who earned $189,000 a year – retired from the Bureau of Prisons on February 26, agency spokesperson Kristie Breshears told the AP on Tuesday. 

He was the warden in charge of the now-closed Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, where disgraced financier Epstein hanged himself while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August 2019.

N’Diaye was replaced with an interim warden followed by Marti Licon-Vitale in January 2020.

Inmates and lawyers have complained that the prison was infested with mice, rats and roaches and that multiple inmates were forced to share dirty sinks and toilets that leaked water, urine and feces. The jail was closed for repairs in October and hasn’t reopened since. 

Last year, N’Diaye was named the warden at FCI Fort Dix, a low-security prison in New Jersey. 

The placement was in direct contradiction of a public pronouncement from the bureau that it would delay N’Diaye’s transfer to run any prison until the ongoing inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general was finished.

The former warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan has quietly retired as the Department of Justice continues to investigate the 2019 suicide of Jeffrey Epstein 

Jeffrey Epstein (left) hung himself in his cell while awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges in 2019. Ghislaine Maxwell (right) was convicted of child sex trafficking last year

In December, federal prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss claims against the MCC jail guards on duty when Epstein died, Tova Noel, 33 (left), and Michael Thomas, 43 (right)

N’Diaye’s salary was $189,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

According to a 2019 indictment, MCC guards Tova Noel and Michael Thomas were falling asleep and surfing the internet instead of performing mandatory checks on Epstein’s cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10, the night he killed himself. 

After they discovered the high-profile inmate dead at 6.30am, the officers allegedly told a supervisor they had ‘messed up’ and ‘didn’t do any checks’ in the hours before he killed himself.  

Guards were allegedly falling asleep and surfing the internet when Epstein hanged himself in his cell in August 2019 

The two guards were required to jointly conduct institutional counts at 4pm, 10pm, 12am, 3am and 5am of the prisoners in the unit.   

In December, federal prosecutors dropped all charges against the two guards after they complied with the six-month no-jail deal they agreed to last May. 

An investigation into Epstein’s death is still ongoing, according to a spokesperson for the Justice Department.

N’Diaye, the jail’s warden at the time, was transferred to FCI Fort Dix in February 2021. 

The jail, located on the grounds of the joint military base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, is the largest single federal prison by population, with just under 3,000 inmates. An adjacent prison camp has 231 minimum-security inmates. 

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

Under N’Diaye’s watch as warden, an inmate at Fort Dix was stabbed in the eyeball by a fellow prisoner, exemplifying the gruesome chronic violence that plagues the Bureau of Prisons and quickly added to calls from congressional lawmakers for the Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal to resign from his position. 

N’Diaye was transferred to FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey last year. The warden’s transfer had been stopped a year earlier by then-Attorney General William Barr

Epstein was found hanging in his cell (pictured) at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in 2019, while awaiting trial for sex trafficking. Guards were allegedly surfing the web and sleeping

Carvajal announced in January he was resigning but has remained in place while the Justice Department searches for a replacement.

A handful of Fort Dix inmates – some of whom were believed to be friends and associates of the suspected attacker – have been held in segregated housing units for more than four months and some were threatened with transfers if they didn’t cooperate with the investigation into the stabbing, two people familiar with the matter told the AP. 

The people could not discuss the matter publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

N’Diaye was replaced by an interim warden followed by Marti Licon-Vitale in January 2020. 

The warden who replaced N’Diaye in January 2020, Marti Licon-Vitale, quit after a yearlong tenure marred by inmates’ complaints about squalid conditions, a smuggled gun and another inmate’s unexplained death

Vitale stepped down after a yearlong tenure marred by inmates’ complaints about squalid conditions, a smuggled gun and another inmate’s unexplained death.

Her abrupt departure came about a week after staff at the jail left an allegedly intellectually disabled inmate alone in a holding cell for 24 hours in violation of prison system regulations.

It also follows the mysterious September death of inmate Tony McClam, which was not related to the coronavirus, the Bureau of Prisons said, though what happened to him remains unexplained.

McClam, who was facing drug charges, was found unresponsive just two days after arriving at the facility and could not be saved, the bureau said. A lawyer for his family said they were still awaiting the results of his autopsy, but that he had complained of medical issues and didn’t receive the appropriate medical attention before his death.

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