Another bizarre twist in the Jeffrey Epstein case came late Wednesday as it was revealed the accused sex trafficker was found injured in his jail cell — and three separate stories emerged as to what might have happened to the disgraced financier.
Details remained sketchy as of early Thursday morning. What seems to be beyond dispute is that Epstein was found on the floor of his Manhattan jail cell in the fetal position with marks around his neck, according to WNBC-TV.
The accused pedophile is being held in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center without bail. He’s complained about the conditions in the jail, including poor-quality food, rats and flooding.
Epstein, according to reports say, was found with marks about his neck in a semi-conscious condition on Tuesday. The New York Post reported he was taken to a nearby hospital. This much seems to be agreed upon.
The matter of contention is what caused it.
No less than four different sources gave three different stories to WNBC. Two people familiar with the case said that Epstein had tried to hang himself. One said that the injuries were minor and that it may have been a stunt to get a transfer out of MCC. A final source said that it might have been an assault at the hands of another prisoner.
— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) July 25, 2019
Two sources claimed that an inmate named Nicholas Tartaglione had been questioned regarding the incident.
Tartaglione, a former police officer, was arrested in December of 2016. He stands accused of murdering four men in New York’s Westchester County over a cocaine deal.
Just two days prior, it was reported that Tartaglione had been found in possession of an illicit cell phone in his jail cell on July 3. Tartaglione had said his cellmate had tossed the phone to him as prison officers approached, the Middletown Times Herald-Record reported.
Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, denied his client had anything to do with the assault on Epstein.
“They are in the same unit and doing well,” Barket said, adding that any claim Tartaglione attacked the financier “is absolutely not true.”
He also added that Epstein had been seen up and about in the prison on Wednesday and looked all right.
Two sources told WNBC that Epstein was on suicide watch inside the correctional facility.
The injuries — be they part of a suicide attempt, a faked suicide attempt or an assault — were the latest twists in a case that’s seen a fair number of them since Epstein’s arrest on July 6.
Prosecutors have said their case against Epstein was getting “stronger by the day” as another woman came forward to allege that Epstein had assaulted her when she was 14. Furthermore, a panoply of evidence at his palatial Manhattan townhouse seemed to point toward impropriety, including a fake passport, lewd photographs of young women, “piles of cash” and “dozens of diamonds” — and a distinct lack of any financial documents, unusual for someone who’s allegedly a financier.
The conspiracy and sex trafficking charges that Epstein has been hit with could land him behind bars for 45 years, which would pretty much be a life sentence for someone who’s 66.
If this was some sort of hoax, it seems unlikely that such a gambit would get Epstein out of MCC and into the house arrest his attorneys have sought. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman, in denying the request on July 18, said that “I doubt any bail package can overcome his danger to the community,” adding that Epstein represented a flight risk.
However, the intent may have been to force a move out of the MCC itself, a rather infamous facility.
“The hulking Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan is several miles and worlds away from the mansion near Central Park that Epstein may have been planning to head for when he was arrested by the FBI after touching down at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey on July 6,” Bloomberg reported on July 10. “Among his new neighbors is the Mexican drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, who has been holed up in the federal jail’s notorious 10 South wing for more than two years.”
Whatever the case, it’s yet another strange turn in the very strange saga of Jeffrey Epstein.
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