Jeffrey Epstein, convicted pedophile and accused sex trafficker, was found injured and semi-conscious with marks on his neck on Tuesday. Investigators are looking at a few possibilities, to include attempted suicide or a ploy to get a transfer to a different facility, reported NBC News 4 New York.
The financier with a black book containing the names and personal contact information for hundreds of well-known people, including ex-President Bill Clinton, is being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Lower Manhattan.
Assault by someone else in the jail is also a scenario being investigated and has not been ruled out to this point. Two of at least four sources from NBC News New York indicate a fellow inmate, former police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, has been questioned and has denied any knowledge of the incident. The ex-cop is accused in the 2016 murder of four men in a drug-related case.
Tartaglione’s attorney refuted claims that he attacked Epstein, adding that Tartaglione and Epstein get along well. The attorney also told reporters that although he was taken to a hospital, Epstein was seen afterwards and appears to be fine.
“They are in the same unit and doing well,” said Tartaglione’s lawyer Bruce Barket. He said any report that Tartaglione might have assaulted Epstein “is absolutely not true.”
The attorney also said that Epstein and Tartaglione have been complaining about the poor conditions in the jail involving rodents, food quality, and flooding in the cells.
Sources say Epstein is now on suicide watch.
One week ago, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman denied bail for Epstein, given the strong possibility that he would flee and that the registered sex offender could be a danger to the community. His attorneys has filed an appeal of the bail ruling, but if it is upheld, he will remain behind bars until his trial, a date for which has not yet been determined.
Prosecutors revealed during the bail hearing that another reason Epstein should not be released before his trial is that he continues to tamper with witnesses, using intimidation tactics as well as substantial bribes on accomplices and witnesses.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to federal conspiracy and sex trafficking charges after being arrested July 6 for alleged sexual abuse of underage girls at his Manhattan home and on his Pal Beach Florida, estate between 2002 and 2005.
Prosecutors have argued that evidence against Epstein is growing “stronger by the day,” with several more women contacting them this month to say that he abused them when they were underage.
Judge Berman cited victims’ testimony as having an impact on his no-bail decision, in addition to Epstein’s reported history of intimidating, threatening, and paying off witnesses or other parties involved in the case. Berman stated at the bail hearing that “I doubt any bail package can overcome his danger to the community.”
One accuser who came forward publicly is Courtney Wild who told authorities Epstein began sexually abusing her when she was only 14. She told reporters at a news conference in New York that Epstein “will never stop sexually abusing children until he is in jail.” She urged the judge to deny bail.