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Attorney General Barr orders New York jail shakeup after Jeffrey Epstein's death

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Rattankun Thongbun/iStock(NEW YORK) — U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered immediate changes in leadership at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York following Jeffrey Epstein’s death.

Barr ordered the staff shakeup amid investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Office Inspector General into the circumstances of the multimillionaire sex offender’s death by suicide.

“Today, the Attorney General directed the Bureau of Prisons to temporarily assign the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York to the Bureau’s Northeast Regional Office pending the outcome of the FBI and OIG investigations into the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, a former MCC inmate,” Kerri Kupec, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, said in a statement.

Kupec said James Petrucci, the warden at the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville, New York, will become acting warder at MCC, replacing Shirley Skipper-Scott.

The Bureau of Prisons also placed two MCC staff members who had been assigned to Epstein’s cell block at the time he was found unresponsive in his cell on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigations, Kupec said.

The order comes one day after Barr raised alarm about “serious irregularities” at the MCC prison and decried the facility’s “failure” in being able to secure Epstein.

“We will get to the bottom of it, and there will be accountability,” Barr said in remarks to law enforcement in New Orleans Monday.

Law enforcement sources told ABC News Tuesday that Epstein hanged himself in his cell. The two guards who were assigned to the Special Housing Unit where Epstein’s cell was located were both working overtime, according to sources, and reportedly did not follow the protocol requiring them to check on Epstein every 30 minutes.

Officials also tell ABC News that part of the investigation into his death centers around why Epstein was not assigned a new cellmate after his previous cellmate was transferred out in the hours before Epstein took his own life.

In recent weeks, the correctional officers’ union has complained of understaffing. Those gripes are now part of the investigation into whether the 30-minute checks were happening, sources said.

A source familiar with conditions at MCC told ABC News that recently, the Bureau of Prisons had to bring in staff to the MCC from other facilities because of understaffing at the prison. The source said the agency even went so far to list the facility as “hard to fill.”

Epstein, who was being held at the jail without bail, was found unresponsive in his cell around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, the Bureau of Prisons said. He was transported in cardiac arrest to a Manhattan hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to sources.

The 66-year-old financier — who once socialized with former President Bill Clinton, Great Britain’s Prince Andrew, and President Donald Trump — was placed on suicide watch on July 23 after he was initially found unresponsive and with bruises on his neck in his cell. He was taken off suicide watch on July 29, officials told ABC News.

Epstein’s death angered many of his accusers, who said they wanted him to be found accountable for the alleged sex abuse he subjected them too, including some when they were minors.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

"Thought About…" football: Tim McGraw to play free show for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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ABC/Mark Levine This fall, Tim McGraw will help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off their 2019 season with a free concert.

The Sunday, September 8 show also celebrates one hundred years of NFL Football. All you need to get into the free concert at Florida’s Raymond James Stadium is a ticket to see the Buccaneers take on the San Francisco 49ers.

You can find out more at Buccaneers.com. Fans can expect to hear Tim’s latest top twenty hit, “Thought About You.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Black-ish' creator Kenya Barris and wife divorce after 20 years

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ABC/Bob D’Amico(LOS ANGELES) — Kenya Barris, who drew on his real-life relationship to create the ABC hit series black-ish, has filed for divorce from his wife, Dr. Rania “Rainbow” Barris, after 20 years of marriage.

Rania previously filed for divorce in 2014, but decided to withdraw her request the following year, after the couple reconciled. This time around, Barris filed the divorce papers on August 9th, the day of his 45th birthday.

As previously noted, black-ish, which stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as married couple Dre and Rainbow, is loosely based on Barris’ own upbringing and his marriage.

Barris also co-created the black-ish spinoff grown-ish, as well as the upcoming prequel spinoff mixed-ish, which will follow the Rainbow Johnson character as a child.

Barris and Rania, an anesthesiologist, tied the knot in 1999 and have six kids together.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

26 shot in 32 seconds: New details, videos released in Dayton mass shooting

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Evgen_Prozhyrko/iStock(DAYTON, Ohio) — New surveillance videos of the suspected gunman’s movements ahead of the Dayton, Ohio, mass shooting were released by authorities on Tuesday.

Police on Tuesday also updated the victim total, correcting the number of those shot and injured to 17, revealing that 26 people were shot in the roughly 30-second attack. Nine were killed in the massacre.

The shooting unfolded in a popular part of town that had a number of bars and restaurants. The gunfire started on Aug. 4 at 1:05 a.m. and lasted about 32 seconds, authorities said, until the suspect, 24-year-old Connor Betts, was killed by an officer in front of the Ned Peppers bar.

It is not clear at this time if Betts’s sister, who was shot and killed, and Betts’s companion, who was injured, were intentional victims, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Tuesday.

No one besides Betts has been found to be involved in the shooting, authorities said.

Betts, who was familiar with the popular downtown Dayton area, went with his sister and companion to Blind Bobs that night, authorities said. He then headed to Ned Peppers at 12:13 a.m. and left that bar at 12:42 a.m., authorities said.

Betts “then goes back to the parking lot where the vehicle is at and spends the next eight minutes gathering content out of the trunk,” authorities said at a news conference.

Newly released video shows Betts leaving his car with a change of clothes and a heavy bag on his back.

At 1:04 a.m., Betts emerged behind an alley and “that’s when the shooting begins,” authorities said.

The new video also shows officers running towards the gunfire.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Listen now: The Highwomen update Willie, Waylon, Kristofferson, and Cash's namesake tune

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Low Country Sound/Elektra RecordsFor the title track of the new album by the all-female supergroup the HighwomenMaren MorrisBrandi CarlileNatalie Hemby, and Amanda Shires re-imagine 1985’s “Highwayman,” previously recorded by Willie NelsonJohnny CashKris Kristofferson, and Waylon Jennings.

This time, however, they’ve updated and re-worked the lyrics from a female perspective, Carlile tells Rolling Stone.

“We rewrote it with fates that befell women,” she says. “A doctor convicted of witchcraft, an immigrant who dies trying to get over the border but got the kids over safe and sound, a preacher, and a freedom rider who gets shot.”

Legendary songwriter Jimmy Webb, who penned and recorded the tune in 1977, helped with the new version.

U.K. songwriter Yola contributes vocals as the freedom rider, while Sheryl Crow adds backgrounds as well.

You can stream or download the “Highwomen” track now, with the full The Highwomen album set to arrive September 6.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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