On Wednesday, federal prosecutors said surveillance footage from outside Jeffrey Epstein’s jail cell recorded the day he allegedly attempted to commit suicide in July had gone missing. On Thursday, prosecutors said they had found the footage.
CNBC reported that the video actually had been properly preserved by jail staff. The footage was requested by attorney’s for Nicholas Tartaglione, Epstein’s former cellmate and an ex-cop who is facing the death penalty for charges relating to the murders of four people during a failed drug deal. Tartaglione has claimed he helped save Epstein’s life during the convicted sex offender’s alleged suicide attempt on July 23.
Tartaglione’s lawyers want the footage to use during the sentencing phase of his trial, hoping that footage of him trying to save Epstein would spare him from the death penalty. On Thursday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York told a judge in a court filing that prosecutors “confirmed with [Metropolitan Correctional Center] staff that the Video was preserved by MCC staff upon defense counsel’s request in July 2019.”
“The Government is in the process of obtaining a copy of the Video from the MCC. Once the Government obtains a copy of the Video, the Government intends to make it available for defense counsel’s review at the United States Attorney’s Office,” the prosecutors’ office wrote in the filing, according to CNBC.
Bruce Barket, who is representing Tartaglione, told CNBC in an email: “We are very pleased the video was preserved, as we had asked.” He added, “We look forward to viewing it.”
Barket had previously said it was “troubling” that prosecutors had apparently lost the requested video.
Epstein allegedly attempted to commit suicide on July 23. At the time, sources told NBC that the marks found around Epstein’s neck were from a suicide attempt, while another source suggested Epstein staged the attempt in order to get transferred to another prison. Yet another source told NBC that “an assault hadn’t been ruled out and that another inmate in Epstein’s unit, identified by sources as Nicholas Tartaglione, had been questioned.”
On August 10, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell with a bedsheet around his neck. His death was ruled a suicide, but questions have arisen. Tartaglione was no longer Epstein’s cellmate at the time of the accused sex trafficker’s death, and he had been taken off suicide watch shortly before his death. The New York Post reported that Epstein told his lawyers that Tartaglione had caused the previous neck injuries, which led to him being taken off suicide watch.
The day before Epstein’s first alleged suicide attempt, he reportedly received new allegations that he had raped a 15-year-old. A woman, who is now in her 30s, said she was taken to Epstein’s mansion in New York when she was in high school, and that he started paying her to massage him. After a year of this, according to the woman, Epstein began touching her and eventually raped her.
Epstein was already facing charges for alleged sex trafficking of minors when the new accusations were presented to him.