Jeffrey Epstein was found unconscious and with neck injuries in his cell at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, where he is being held leading up to his trial on federal charges of sex trafficking and conspiracy.
While multiple sources close to the investigation told NBC New York that Epstein was found on the floor with markings on his neck, they differ in opinion on what caused them:
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.
Tartaglione maintains he did not touch Epstein; his lawyer said that “They are in the same unit and doing well.” Following the incident, Epstein is now on suicide watch.
Epstein has been charged with one count of sex trafficking and one count of sex trafficking conspiracy. A 14-page indictment unsealed earlier this month detailed how Epstein lured young girls who were “particularly vulnerable to exploitation” to his Manhattan and Palm Beach homes under the guise of providing “massages;” typically, the massages escalated into sex acts, the indictment says. For this, he paid the alleged victims “hundreds of dollars” in cash.
Epstein was denied bail ahead of his trial—which does not yet have a start date—after a search warrant revealed that he had a fake passport and stacks of cash hidden in a safe.