Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire financier and convicted sex offender, was found injured on the floor of his cell in a New York City jail, where he is awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges. Sources told NBC News that Epstein was found semiconscious with marks on his neck at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan at some point in the last two days. Epstein was taken to a nearby hospital and is now on suicide watch.
It’s unclear how Epstein sustained the injuries, and as with many aspects of his story, the incident has sparked conflicting rumors and speculation. Two sources told NBC News that he tried to hang himself, but a third said his injuries weren’t serious. Sources told the New York Post that investigators believe it may be a ploy by Epstein to get transferred out of the facility. Epstein’s attorneys had argued that he should be allowed to await trial in his Upper East Side mansion, but he was denied bail by a federal judge. His attorneys appealed the decision on Monday.
But there’s an even wilder theory on what happened in Epstein’s jail cell. Investigators are reportedly looking into the possibility that Epstein was assaulted by another inmate, whom sources have identified as Nicholas Tartaglione. Here’s his back story, per NBC News:
Tartaglione, 49, is a former police officer in Briarcliff Manor, New York, 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, according to court records. He was charged with drug conspiracy and four counts of murder and is awaiting trial.
Those prone to conspiracy theories about the sex offender who may or may not have dirt on some of his rich and powerful contacts have plenty to work with here. But Tartaglione’s attorney, Bruce Barket, told CNBC that “any suggestion that Mr. Tartaglione assault[ed] anyone is a complete fabrication.”
He said Tartaglione and Epstein got along, and have both complained about poor conditions at the facility, including flooding, rodents, and bad food. In an email to CNBC, he suggested that’s the only reason his client’s name is being dragged into the Epstein story.
“This story is being leaked to retaliate against Mr. Tartaglione for complaining to the court about the deplorable conditions at the MCC,” Barket said.
“We made those complaints on Monday in open court … We warned the judge that officials at the jail would retaliate against Nick because we have been exposing the inhumane conditions at the facility.”
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and sex-trafficking charges. His next court date is set for July 31.