Rumors have been circulating ever since Jeffrey Epstein was found dead that cameras at the prison malfunctioned the night of his death. On the day of his death, officials did not share any proof regarding whether cameras were recording Epstein and, if there were, whether they were working or recorded footage. At the time, Michael Coudrey tweeted that the cameras had malfunctioned, but his tweet didn’t include any sources to verify the information. However, weeks later, sources have emerged to confirm that Michael Coudrey’s statement was indeed accurate and the cameras were malfunctioning. Coudrey has told Heavy that he couldn’t provide sources at the time because of the “sensitivity of the environment at the time.”
Many other questions surrounding Epstein’s death have led some officials to call for a deeper investigation. Read on to learn more about the cameras, along with questions that have led officials to seek an investigation into Epstein’s death. This story has been updated with new details that emerged about the cameras in late August, weeks after Epstein’s death.
The Camera Malfunction Rumor Started with a Tweet that Did Not Cite Proof, but Weeks Later Sources Confirmed the Rumor as Accurate
Michael Coudrey seems to have started the camera malfunction rumor on Twitter. He wrote on the day of Epstein’s death: “BREAKING: Alleged ‘camera malfunction’ last night at MCC where Jeffrey Epstein was locked up.” Coudrey has a blue check next to his name on Twitter, so his account has been verified as authentic. He is not a bot.
At the time, Coudrey did not provide proof to his tweet or any sources to verify why he wrote about the camera malfunction on Twitter. Weeks later, sources emerged to confirm his information as accurate.
Coudrey posted on Facebook that same day that reporters should be demanding the release of the camera footage. He wrote: “Reporters should be demanding the release of the camera footage. How this individual committed ‘suicide’ while on suicide watch and being monitored in prison is outrageous. Extremely convienent for the rich and powerful he was connected with though.” [sic]
His post included a reference to his mention about a camera malfunction.
Coudrey is listed on Twitter as being an entrepreneur, CEO of YukoSocial, and the co-founder of NewRightUS. YukoSocial is a company that helps people optimize their social media presence, according to the website. The site says: “Yuko Social is a team of millennial social media experts here to help with all your social media needs. Our team of specialists work to drive traffic, increase engagement and develop your brands online presence.” [sic] Coudrey’s Facebook page explains YukoSocial a little more, explaining that it’s a political social media firm that specializes in “information warfare” and has a client list that includes U.S. Representatives, political figures, and candidate hopefuls. They are based in LA.
Before his tweet about the camera malfunction, Coudrey had visited The Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in person and recorded people on the premises telling journalists to leave the area.
Some people on Twitter were quick to point out that nothing had been said to substantiate the camera malfunction claim.
On Instagram, Coudrey said that he has more information coming soon.
He wrote: “Reporters should be demanding the release of the camera footage. How this individual committed “suicide’ while on suicide watch and being monitored in prison is outrageous. Extremely convienent for the rich and powerful he was connected with though. I stopped by the MCC where Epstein was being held this morning while in NYC. More to come soon.” [sic]
At the time of Epstein’s death, there were no official statements about the cameras. NBC News reported that “some” cells in the MCC have cameras. It later emerged that there were no cameras in Epstein’s cells, but there were cameras outside and those had malfunctioned, Reuters reported.
Heavy reached out to Coudrey on the day that Epstein’s death was reported and asked for more details regarding the camera tweet. On that day we did not hear back, but Coudrey did reach out to Heavy on August 29 about the cameras. He said he couldn’t confirm his sourcing right after Epstein died “due to the sensitivity of the environment at the time.”
Two Cameras Outside Epstein’s Cell Did Malfunction
The first official word about the cameras came out on August 11. TMZ reported that cameras typically don’t point inside the cells in the area where Epstein was being held. (We now know that he was not under suicide watch when he died.) The Special Housing Unit where he was held does have cameras, but they don’t typically point directly inside the cells. Rather, they will record the doors of the cells, but not inside the cells. In rare situations, someone might have one camera set to point directly inside a cell.
On August 28, Reuters reported that the two cameras outside Epstein’s cell had malfunctioned. This confirms Coudrey’s original tweet as accurate.
The two cameras have been sent to Quantico’s FBI crime lab for analysis. Epstein’s lawyers, Reid Weingarten and Martin Weinberg, have said they doubt that their client killed himself. The chief medical examiner concluded that Epstein’s death was suicide by hanging.
The Washington Post reported that at least one camera in the hallway outside Epstein’s cell had malfunctioned and had “unusable” footage. Other cameras in the area had captured clearer footage, The Washington Post noted, but it was unclear what that footage was.
Officials Are Calling for an Investigation Because of Questions Surrounding Epstein’s Death
Many questions surround Epstein’s death. In fact, there are so many questions that people on both sides of the political divide are seeking answers.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted “We need answers. Lots of them.”
Attorney General William Barr has ordered Inspector General to investigate. He released a statement saying: “I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Esptein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered. In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”
Senator Ben Sasse wrote the following to Barr, according to CBS News: “The Department of Justice failed… Every single person in the Justice Department — from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer — knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him… Given Epstein’s previous attempted suicide, he should have been locked in a padded room under unbroken, 24/7, constant surveillance. Obviously, heads must roll.”
The questions that are being looked into are numerous. Here’s a look at just some of them.
First, Epstein was already found unconscious in his jail cell last month with marks on his neck, Reuters reported. He had been on suicide watch, but had recently been taken off suicide watch sometime in the two weeks before his death, CNBC reported. This means that he would have had sheets, blankets, shirts, and a bed, TMZ reported.
Carol Leonnig of The Washington Post tweeted after news of his death was released: “People close to Epstein fear he was murdered…as Epstein told authorities someone tried to kill him in a previous incident weeks earlier. He was described as being in good spirits in recent days…”
She later tweeted: “Remember previous incident July 23: it was never cleared up whether Epstein had been attacked, as he said, or if he was covering up his own suicide attempt.”
Epstein was in the Special Housing Unit of MCC, not on suicide watch like people thought.
Epstein was found dead shortly before 7 a.m. Eastern. NBC News said he appeared to have hanged himself. The Justice Department’s official statement reads:
On Saturday, August 10, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., inmate Jeffrey Edward Epstein was found unresponsive in his cell in the Special Housing Unit from an apparent suicide at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York, New York. Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. Staff requested emergency medical services (EMS) and life-saving efforts continued. Mr. Epstein was transported by EMS to a local hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, and subsequently pronounced dead by hospital staff. The FBI is investigating the incident.”
A source told Reuters that two MCC guards are supposed to make separate checks on prisoners every 30 minutes. However, this procedure wasn’t followed the night that Epstein died.
Because of these questions, officials are calling for an investigation into Epstein’s death.