In July, several weeks before Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, he is believed to have attempted suicide. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the man who shared a cell with the late sex criminal at the time said surveillance footage taken outside their cell the night of the suicide attempt has gone missing. This won’t help tamp down the conspiracy theories.
“I don’t know the details of how it was lost or destroyed or why it wasn’t retained when it should have been,” lawyer Bruce Barket told the New York Post. “It is on the surface troubling,” Barket added in comments to the Daily News. “I’ll reserve judgment until I’ve found out more details.”
Barket’s client, Nick Tartaglione, was Epstein’s cellmate until July 23, when the well-connected money manager was found injured and unconscious in the cell they shared. Epstein was later treated for neck injuries and told his lawyers that Tartaglione, a former police officer accused of killing four in a drug deal gone wrong, had “roughed him up.”
Tartaglione and his lawyers deny that. They say the bodybuilding ex-cop had helped Epstein, and they’ve been trying to get the video to prove it. Days after the July suicide attempt, Barket filed a request for the footage to be preserved. The Daily News explains why:
The video footage was relevant to Tartaglione’s defense because it is potentially evidence of the ex-cop’s good character. In the event Tartaglione is found guilty and reaches the death-penalty phase, the Epstein incident could possibly be evidence showing why he doesn’t deserve to die.
Following the July 23 incident, Tartaglione was transferred and Epstein was put on suicide watch. But that didn’t last long. In the days leading up to his eventual death by suicide, Epstein was not closely monitored. Unlike with the first suicide attempt, however, there is video from outside Epstein’s cell on the day he killed himself. According to federal prosecutors, that video shows that no one entered or left Epstein’s cell.