Billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein, who awaits trial on federal sex trafficking charges at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, was found injured in his cell. When discovered Wednesday, Epstein was allegedly semi-conscious and had marks on his neck. Was it an attack, a suicide attempt, or a hoax staged in hope of triggering a transfer? No one seems to know for sure.
NBC broke the news late Wednesday night, citing several different sources with varying stories. According to two, Epstein tried to hang himself. A third, however, claimed that the injuries weren’t that serious, and wondered if, perhaps, the billionaire had staged the event in order to get a transfer to another facility. Another source said that assault had not been ruled out. Former police officer Nicholas Tartaglione, arrested in 2016 for killing four men in an alleged cocaine distribution conspiracy, was named by this source. Tartaglione was allegedly questioned regarding the possible assault, but claimed not to have seen anything or to have touched Epstein. According to Tartaglione’s attorney, the two got along fine and Epstein seemed to be fine Wednesday. CBS reported Thursday morning that law enforcement officials have confirmed that the injured man was discovered in his cell Wednesday and that he was expected to return to the jail after treatment later in the day.
Epstein was arrested after returning home from Paris on a private jet July 6 and charged with sex trafficking conspiracy and sex trafficking. Despite volunteering for bail conditions that would seem to show a willingness to cooperate and appear at his trial, Epstein was denied bail by District Judge Richard M. Berman July 18.
In 2008, Epstein pleaded guilty to procuring a person younger than 18 for prostitution and soliciting of prostitution and served 13 months in a Florida jail. He was granted a federal non-prosecution agreement by Alex Acosta, who was, at the time, US attorney for Miami. Acosta had since joined the ranks of the Trump administration as labor secretary and resigned recently in the face of the controversy over the deal. Epstein’s secrets have been the source of speculation for some time now, leading to quite a bit of divisive partisan play. Those on the left accuse Trump of being Epstein’s friend and question whether the president might have been involved in any of the financier’s sordid affairs, while those on the right wonder the same about Bill Clinton, who has, evidently, spent a good deal of time with Epstein and has even flown on his private plane with him. Regardless of who Epstein might have dirt on, as Liberty Nation’s Jeff Charles explained, the media passed up an opportunity to shed light on the sex trafficking industry in favor of throwing political mud.
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to these latest charges, and if found guilty, could be sentenced to as many as 45 years in prison. At age 66, a conviction would likely have the effect of life in prison, as the maximum would see him released at age 111. Even if he received only 50% of the max, he would be pushing 90 years old. With that in mind, suicide doesn’t seem unlikely, and NBC reports that he has been placed on suicide watch. However, it’s also not uncommon for those charged with sex crimes involving minors to be attacked by other inmates. So which is it? And what will happen next in this high-profile case? Stay tuned to Liberty Nation for updates to this developing story.
*This story has been updated as of 8 a.m. Eastern.