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AP Source: Epstein jail guards suspected of falsifying logs

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Metropolitan Correctional Center

NEW YORK — Jail guards on duty the night Jeffrey Epstein apparently killed himself are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, according to a person familiar with the investigation into the financier’s death.

Surveillance video shows guards never made some of the checks noted in the log, said the person, who was not authorized to disclose information about the case and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.

Epstein, 66, is believed to have killed himself early Saturday at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, where he was awaiting trial in a sex trafficking case. The cause of the death has not been announced, but a person familiar with operations at the federal lockup said the financier was discovered in his cell with a bedsheet around his neck.

His death prompted the Justice Department to place two guards on leave and remove the jail’s warden pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general. Falsifying log entries can be a federal crime.

The case has thrown a spotlight on chronic understaffing at the jail, which has long been used to house some of the world’s most notorious criminals, including mobsters, drug lords and terrorists.

A person familiar with the jail’s operations told the AP that a guard in Epstein’s unit was working a fifth straight day of overtime and another guard was working mandatory overtime the day he was found. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he lacked authorization to publicly discuss jail operations.

Last month, Epstein had been put on suicide watch, with 24-hour monitoring and daily psychiatric evaluations, after he was found on the floor of his cell with bruises on his neck. But he was taken off suicide watch at the end of July and returned to the jail’s special housing unit, for inmates requiring close supervision.

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Balsamo reported from Washington.

Jim Mustian, Michael R. Sisak And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press




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Air Canada, Ottawa agree to aid package worth up to $5.9 billion

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OTTAWA — Air Canada and Ottawa have agreed to financing deals that would allow the airline to access as much as $5.9 billion through the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility program.

As part of the package, Air Canada has agreed to a number of commitments, including refunds for some customers who did not travel due to COVID-19 and a promise to resume service at some regional airports.

Other restrictions include limits on executive compensation and maintaining a minimum number of staff.

Travel restrictions introduced through the beginning of the pandemic have been catastrophic for the airline industry. 

Then-CEO Calin Rovinescu described it as the “bleakest year in the history of commercial aviation,” when the airline released its 2020 financial results in February.

The deal with Ottawa includes debt as well as an equity investment.

The company lost $4.6-billion in 2020, compared with a profit of $1.5 billion the year before.

In early April, Air Canada pulled the plug on its planned $190-million takeover of Montreal-based tour operator Transat AT, citing Europe’s unwillingness to approve the deal, thus triggering a $12.5-million termination fee.

Organizations supporting Air Canada’s calls for a bailout have included unions such as Unifor and the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, as well as the National Airlines Council of Canada industry group.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 12, 2021.

Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)

The Canadian Press

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Haley says she'll back Trump, stand down if he runs in 2024

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ORANGEBURG, S.C. — Former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, often mentioned as a possible 2024 GOP presidential contender, said Monday that she would not seek her party’s nomination if former President Donald Trump opts to run a second time.

“Yes,” Haley said, when asked if she would support a second bid by Trump, in whose Cabinet she served for the first half of his administration.

“I would not run if President Trump ran, and I would talk to him about it,” Haley said, asked by The Associated Press if a possible Trump bid could preclude her own effort, were he to announce first. “That’s something that we’ll have a conversation about at some point, if that decision is something that has to be made.”

Haley spoke Monday after touring the campus of South Carolina State University, an HBCU in Orangeburg where current President James E. Clark showed her campus improvements including a revamped student centre and state-of-the-art cancer research and cybersecurity facilities.

The visit was one of Haley’s first public events in months in her home state.

Since her 2016 resignation as South Carolina governor to join Trump’s Cabinet, Haley has maintained a delicate balancing act among Republicans who have in some ways been sharply split on the now-former president. In two years at the United Nations, Haley treaded a path of speaking out against Trump while not directly drawing his ire. She left the office on her own terms in 2018, a rarity then during a wave of staffing turmoil.

Haley has made several moves in recent years to fuel speculation her sights are on higher office. In 2019, she and her family moved back to South Carolina, purchasing a home in the Kiawah Island community. She also launched a political action committee, published a memoir and commanded as much as $200,000 for speaking appearances.

Republicans had already been grappling with the party’s future following Trump’s tumultuous term. But after the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill violence as lawmakers gathered to certify Joe Biden’s election victory, Haley said Trump had been “badly wrong” in stoking the crowd before the riot, telling an audience at the Republican National Committee winter meeting that Trump’s “actions since Election Day will be judged harshly by history.”

Haley also said the whole notion was “deeply disappointing” because of the effect it will have on the legacy of the Trump administration, echoing remarks by some including fellow South Carolinian Sen. Lindsey Graham, who called the melee Trump’s “self-inflicted wound.”

On Monday, Haley defended her former boss, who this past weekend lit into fellow Republicans including his own vice-president, saying he was “disappointed” in Mike Pence and calling Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “stone-cold loser.”

“I think former President Trump’s always been opinionated,” Haley said, asked about Trump’s weekend comments and if they hurt the GOP. “Just because he left being president, that’s not going to stop. But I think what he also talked about were all the successes that he had in the administration. And I think that’s what Republicans are uniting on. … Every day Biden and Kamala Harris are in office unites the Republicans.”

The outing was Haley’s first public event in her home state in months. It comes just two weeks before Pence, also among those mentioned as a possible 2024 candidate, is set to visit South Carolina for his first public speech, a gathering with a conservative Christian non-profit group.

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Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.

Meg Kinnard, The Associated Press




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