What to Know
- Accused pedophile and financier Jeffrey Epstein was found injured and in a fetal position inside his cell at a NYC jail, sources said
- Epstein was found semi-conscious with marks on his neck, sources said and investigators are trying to piece together exactly what happened
- Two sources question if Epstein tried to hang himself while a third source wondered if Epstein was trying to get a transfer
Accused pedophile and wealthy Manhattan financier Jeffrey Epstein was found injured and in a fetal position inside his cell at a New York City jail, according to sources close to the investigation.
Epstein, who is being held in Metropolitan Correctional Center as he awaits his trial for conspiracy and sex trafficking, was found semi-conscious with marks on his neck, two sources told News 4. Investigators are trying to piece together exactly what happened, saying details remain murky.
Two sources tell News 4 that Epstein may have tried to hang himself, while a third source cautioned that the injuries were not serious and questioned if Epstein might be using it as a way to get a transfer.
A fourth source said an assault has not been ruled out, and that another inmate was questioned. The inmate who investigators have talked to in Lower Manhattan facility has been identified as Nicholas Tartaglione, according to two sources. Tartaglione is a former police officer in Westchester County who was arrested in December 2016 and accused of killing four men in an alleged cocaine distribution conspiracy, then burying their bodies in his yard in Otisville in Orange County, according to court records.
Epstein and Tartaglione were cellmates, two sources tell NBC 4 New York. Tartaglione's attorney confirmed they shared the same cell block.
Subsequently, on Thursday, a senior official reiterated that all three theories -- attempted suicide, try for transfer and attack by inmate -- are still in play.
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Sources told News 4 investigators questioned Tartaglione, and the former cop claimed not to have seen anything and insisted he did not touch Epstein, sources said.
The attorney for Tartaglione denied all the claims that his client attacked the financier, saying his client and Epstein get along well. The attorney added Epstein was seen today and appears to be fine.
"They are in the same unit and doing well," said Bruce Barket, an attorney for Tartaglione. He said any claim that Tartaglione might have assaulted Epstein "is absolutely not true."
Barket said Tartaglione and Epstein have been complaining about conditions inside the MCC including flooding, rodents and bad food.
Epstein is now on suicide watch inside MCC, according to two sources. Attorneys for Epstein did not immediately return calls for comment.
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons confirmed to News 4 that Epstein was treated inside an MCC infirmary and not taken to a hospital. He currently remains inside MCC.
"As with all inmates, for privacy and security reasons, we do not share information on an inmate's medical status or their conditions of confinement," the spokesperson said.
Spokesmen for the U.S. Marshals and U.S. Attorney's office declined to comment.
Lisa Bloom, a lawyer who represents some of the Epstein accusers, tweeted Thursday that neither her clients nor she "wish suicide upon anyone, not even a recidivist predator who has tricked and hurt so many women."
"We want him to stay alive to face the justice and accountability which is so long overdue," Bloom tweeted. "And it's coming."
Gloria Allred, who is also representing multiple Epstein accusers, echoed Bloom's statements, saying his alleged victims have been waiting for the day when he may be held accountable for what they accuse him of doing over the years.
"We don’t know at this point whether his injuries are caused by a suicide attempt or an attack by others. However he sustained his injuries, we want him to be forced to face a jury and respond to the serious charges that he is facing," Allred said. "Justice for victims whose young lives he has impacted is long overdue."
Most recently in the sex trafficking case against Epstein, the wealthy financier had been denied bail on July 18 following a bombshell search-warrant revelation that Epstein had a fake passport and piles of cash and diamonds stashed in a safe inside his $77 million Manhattan home.
U.S. District Judge Richard Berman cited risk of flight and danger to the community in his decision against Epstein, a registered sex offender and private-island owner who faces new federal charges of exploiting dozens of underage girls in New York and Florida in the early 2000s. That meant Epstein would remain behind bars pending trial (a date for the start of which has yet to be set).
Defense attorneys filed their notice of appeal to the bail ruling on Monday.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and sex trafficking charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan. The financier's next court date is set for July 31.