Jeffrey Epstein, who is facing up to 45 years in prison on sex trafficking charges, was found unconscious Tuesday with marks around his neck on the floor when his cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, 51, alerted correction officers, according to a Friday report from The New York Daily News.
Investigators have yet to conclusively determine whether Epstein was assaulted or if his injuries were self-inflicted, but a law enforcement source confirmed to the Daily News that Tartaglione did not harm Epstein and intervened in an attempt to save his life.
“[Epstein] is on suicide watch,” the source said. “You don’t go on suicide watch if you’ve been assaulted, do you?”
The source also spoke to the harsh conditions of the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), where both are being held, which may prompted Epstein to allegedly attempt to take his own life.
“You’ve got a guy who is a millionaire who is now living among rats and mold and wants to go home,” the source explained.
Tartaglione’s attorney, Bruce Barket, did not dispute the Daily News’ account of what happened, but refused to provide any details regarding the incident. However, he did refute claims that there were ever any hostilities between Tartaglione and Epstein.
“They became more than cordial,” Barket told the Daily News. “In the short time they were together, they became friends.”
Barket also made statements Thursday in which he reiterated that MCC posed a brutal environment for inmates.
“The conditions at MCC are absolutely horrible,” Barket said, according to Fox5 NY.
“I’ve been practicing law for over 30 years and had an opportunity to be in a number of different jails and prisons around the country and, in fact, around the world. The Metropolitan Correctional Center where Jeffery Epstein and Nick Tartaglione are kept is the worst facility I’ve ever been to,” he said
He also noted that the transition to life inside MCC would be particularly difficult for someone accustomed to living a lavish lifestyle such as Epstein.
“The facility is deplorable. It’s insect infested. It’s rodent infested. The food is barely edible. The medical care is nonexistent. Mail is not delivered,” Barket said.
“I think when Mr. Epstein first got there it was a bit of a shell-shock for him.”